questions and contradictions. it is both a harrowing glimpse at how the criminally minded might have cheated and betrayed their way through the war, but also a tribute to the strength of soul of the victims that they manage to stay level-headed and calculative in an environment of absolute despair. both of these things coming from the hero Salomon, and the supposed villain Herzog. as you watch this, and warm to protagonists (as you do in most movies), you can't help wondering about the needs of the many versus the needs of the few. of course you want the hero to achieve his goals and ultimately survive... but what about the thousands of unseen prisoners that go on suffering because of his actions. it is estimated that the works of twenty-or-so fine jewish craftsmen kept the war going for two years more than if they hadn't done the work they did. but what would you do?.. work to save your life and the life of your friends, or all face beatings and death for the thousands of unknown faces. tough call. brilliantly shot, the grainy handheld camera work puts you right in the camp, up close to the characters. harsh, uncomfortable tension all the way until the ultimate release. well defined and frighteningly real portrayals from the whole cast. terrifying, excellent.