Europa Europa (Hitlerjunge Salomon)

Europa Europa

Sharpen the long knives on the pavement stone! Sink the knives into Jewish flesh and bone!

Europa Europa is the true story (that seems to be rather common on this blog nowadays) of Solomon Perel, a German-born Jew who, after finding himself infiltrated amongst the German Army, masquerades as an Aryan German to avoid detection and survive the war. Like most true stories turned into films, it’s an incredible tale, and one that translates easily onto the screen. There’s a lot that happens, so the film is very full in that regard, yet there isn’t much to really take about, because all the mechanics of the film so scarcely show themselves; some may view this as a testament to how well made the film is, as I do, but others may feel the film is empty in meaning as a result of not showing off its finer points enough.

The story relies a little too heavily on the narration for expositional purposes, but what film there is is well told. I will say, though, for a Jew living directly behind the enemy lines, so to say, Solly sure is a lucky bastard; whenever anything would go wrong that would threaten the exposure of his identity, there’s always some caveat that occurs or some action of God that saves him. As incredulous as it may be, it still manages to hover over the line of implausibility without crossing it; it tiptoes a few times, but for me it was still believable, maybe because of the “true story” angle. There’s even one occurrence where Solly himself says “Only a miracle can save me now,” and then right there, such a miraculous event occurs, so if your suspension of disbelief is a bit short, you may find several events in this film to be beyond your limit of credibility.

I don’t know how much of a ‘must see’ this is; there really isn’t a whole lot that’s noteworthy about it other than the story. It’s still a great film, though, and definitely one worthy of the time invested into it; I just wasn’t fully convinced it was a great enough film to warrant inclusion on its greatness alone. If I spent too long trying to decipher why it made the list, I’d be ignoring the good qualities the film does have, so I guess I should listen to myself for once. This is one to catch if you ever get the chance; it feels a bit long for its two-hour length, but it is still entertaining and compelling the whole way through.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10


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