Director: Uwe Boll (2011)
Starring: Uwe Boll, Hitler.
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Uwe Boll's sensitively handled, well-intentioned docu-drama about Auschwitz. Yes, it's completely real and totally available on DVD. I'm still not entirely convinced that Auschwitz exists. And I watched it for myself last night. Clarification: when I say things like "I'm not convinced that Auschwitz exists" try to take that in context. If however, I say something like "Auschwitz is shit", you can take that however you like.

Another non-Holocaust denier is Doctor Uwe Boll, apparently. The infamous movie director and boxer has created this documentary-slash-drama to educate those he fears are in danger of forgetting about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. Like the director of that Serbian Film (I forget the title) he makes a little speech before the film starts declaring his intentions. You can see him thinking to himself "no, nobody will dare take the pisses out of me for this movie." People are beginning to forget about Auschwitz, Doc Boll posits. Leave it to the director of House Of The Dead to remind us all. Totally sensitively, mind.

Just like that sensitive movie he made about 9/11.

Not even past the DVD menu, Auschwitz shows how sensitive it is. You select things by moving a little swastika around the screen. I'm sure that'll offend no-one. The DVD proves that it's not racist by having a trailer for a soppy Denzel Washington movie that will interest literally nobody who enjoys Uwe Boll movies. Following Boll's introduction (I suppose a review of a movie like Auschwitz is not the place to comment on the Doctor's bad skin) the movie cuts to what looks like either a toilet or a shower room, where Boll is interviewing a number of teenage kids. He asks them things like "what do you know about the Holocaust?" and "why did Hitler hate the Jews?" There's ten minutes of this nonsense, which would be interesting if I hadn't covered it during the first five minutes of GCSE History. Then, the main event:

The drama bit of Uwe Boll's docu-drama. It depicts the arrival of a large number of Jews at Auschwitz. Moments later, the infants and younger children are separated from the adults and shot in the head. On camera. I'm not a big watcher of sensitively handled things, but I'm still pretty positive that shooting children in the head is not the way to go about being sensitive. The rest of the victims are sent to the showers where they strip off and await the inevitable. Meanwhile, two Nazi officers talk about their holidays and birthdays whilst drinking vodka. Admittedly, this bit works well, showing the banality of evil and the terrifyingly human face of Nazi. In the background, Uwe Boll hulks around as the only Nazi officer who apparently doesn't have to wear a helmet, eating a sandwich.

I'd imagine that this is a pretty adequate summation of his directorial style too; skulking around the background like Sasquatch, eating a sandwich and barking orders. He's a good actor too, really selling the character of a bored Nazi who just wants to eat his sandwich and lean against doors. The gas is pumped into the showers and the unfortunates' death is depicted in very sensitive detail. I'm sure nobody could ever be offended by Boll's depiction of the slow, humiliating, agonizing death of all those people - very old and very young alike - especially the lingering closeups of their naked flesh or pained death throes. Once they're dead, Boll has the bodies gathered up and fed into an incinerator.

"How they were for real... Killing Factories!"
OMG because up till' now I thought it was like Disneyland

The drama part of Auschwitz lasts no longer than half an hour, but it manages to pack in gratuitous infanticide, all sorts of nudity, tooth removal, an extended gassing sequence and Uwe Boll eating a sandwich. There's one shot that comes from a better, more moving film - the ashes of the Death Camp's victims rising into a grey, apocalyptic sky - but nothing else even approaches approaches that level of emotion, so it's lost amongst the violence and torture nonsense. And that's what Auschwitz is - the ultimate torture flick.

Not over yet, Auschwitz switches back to documentary mode. Alongside the interviews and talking heads is inserted news footage and photographs from the real Auschwitz. This is a lot harder to watch than any of Boll's facile dramatizations - which come across as deleted scenes from Seed anyway - and completely destroys any pretension of sensitivity. Far from Schindler's List, this movie has more in common with a Faces Of Death. It's an exploitation movie, and for anyone to pretend otherwise is more offensive than anything else Boll could have done with it. It's a staggeringly desperate cry to be taken seriously.

Maybe Uwe Boll does care about the subject, but everything outside of his silly speeches in Auschwitz suggest otherwise. If he felt outraged or saddened by the subject matter (feelings which Auschwitz somehow manages to fail in milking) surely he wouldn't be dressing himself up as a Nazi for the movie? Or joking about Nazi gold in Postal? If he was really outraged, then how could he bring himself to use the Nazis as comedy villains in Blubberella or Bloodrayne: Third Reich? Quite right the Nazis should be mocked, degraded and spoofed. But Auschwitz sits ill-at-ease with his other movies. Boll's intentions were no doubt good. But Auschwitz is to films about the Holocaust as I Spit On Your Grave is rape.

Anyone with more than a passing interest in modern history or a GCSE in the subject will find nothing new in Auschwitz. For history noobs, it's fine and I hope the film does well. As a documentary, it's boring and uninformative. As a drama, it's grotesque but feels pointless. Auschwitz wasn't very nice. Who knew?


  1. And yes, I am aware of the irony of criticising Doc Boll for being an exploitative tool whilst myself exploiting his movie & its imagery for all it's worth to get myself some more readers.

  2. That's too bad. I had hoped Boll would get something right this time, if for no other reason my few interactions with him have never shown him to be the Raging Boll of Internet Legend.

    That, and I didn't think "Postal" was half as bad it gets portrayed as. But it sounds like this movie might have the same problem it had... Boll doesn't know when enough is enough.

  3. It's not properly awful - it's no House Of The Dead, haha - it's well made and directed - but the overt exploitation and violence doesn't seem to sit well with the message he claims to want to promote. I kinda wanted this to work as well.

  4. Just watched the 3rd BloodRayne...I figured he had already made the set for that flick and made this in between.

    Its kinda disturbing if he cast Germans as Jews.

  5. Perhaps letting go of an obvious dislike for Boll and basing each film on it's own merits would have aided you in understanding this film. I rarely, no, never, criticize a fellow reviewer but this was unreal. As far as scripted films on the subject go, Boll's Auschwitz is perhaps the most poignant film on the subject ever. Pointless? Perhaps for those who insist on not seeing the point. Or those not educated enough on the subject matter at hand. Poorly done, sir.

  6. Fair play, criticise away. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner with the bollocks I've been putting out over the years. That said, I don't dislike Boll at all. I don't like many of his films, but I give them all a chance.I genuinely enjoyed his 'Rampage'.

    I hesitate to argue with the aspersions cast upon my education because (a) I am quite stupid and (b) you probably mean 'educated' in the emotional sense. Depicting the atrocities of Auschwitz doesn't automatically grant your film poignancy. It's simply banal. I won't be emotionally manipulated into thinking a film is good just because they shoot a child in the head.

    The moments of genuine poignancy I enjoyed. But there weren't many of them.

    To me, yes, the dramatisations felt pointless. What happened at Auschwitz speaks for itself. I'm perfectly capable of appreciating the tragedy and injustice of what happened without unsubtle torture sequences. If it does educate, fair enough.


  7. I'm in agreement with such minds as Mel Brooks and Uwe Boll, apparently, in thinking it perfectly appropriate to use Nazis as comic villains - in the end, their ilk are worthy of nothing more than scornful mockery.

  8. Quite right, my Anonymous friend. And neither is this film.

  9. I never liked Boll's films, but then I saw Postal. I absolutely LOVED that movie. I'd never even played the game until I saw the movie, then I went and got Postal 2 for PC. Awesome game too. Even got the kitten silencers. Anyway, I haven't seen Auschwitz yet, but if Postal is any indication as to what he's learned then I'm going to have to check it out.

    I mean with Postal, he took a game that had a half ass story, but not really much of one, more like an excuse to wander around killing people. Uwe took that and put a story to it when he made the movie. Hell the game Postal III even turned out to be a sequel to the movie in a way, using the story from the movie as canon.

    Anyway I've gotten a bit off topic here so I'm going to stop now. Maybe I'll have more to say after I watch a bunch of Jews get gassed.