Inspirational and intriguing the film Walking with the Enemy has been released on DVD and Digital HD. The movie was inspired by a true story that took place in Hungary nearing the end of WWII about a man who could not stand by and watch the Nazis kill his countrymen. This very compelling and very realistic war drama should not be missed for it historical value and tragic content. To those personally affected it’s a memory to a heart breaking time that should never be forgotten or repeated.
It’s 1944 Hungary and the country has been allied with Germany and has yet to feel the wave of death and destruction that the rest of Europe has been subjected. Hungarian Jews are not being persecuted and the young people are still enjoying good times. Three buddies Ferenc Jacobson (Mark Wells), Elek Cohen (Jonas Armstrong) and Lajos (David Leon) are living in Budapest and working to send money home to their families in small town far from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Romance is in the air as Elek meets Hannah Schoen (Hannah Tointon) at a dance, but after a fracas he loses sight of her.
But, things are about to change quickly when Elek’s boss tells him that word has it that the Nazis will be moving into Budapest to set up a stronghold against the Russians. Elek along with Ferenc flee to their hometown to be with their families. So begins an amazing account of a freedom fighter who takes on the Germans disguised as an SS Nazi officer.
The film shows the gut wrenching viciousness of the Nazis and a Hungarian group called the Arrow Cross Party, led by Ferenc Szálasi (Simon Hepworth) as they murder thousands of Jews at the behest of Colonel Adolph Eichmann (Charles Hubbell) and Colonel Skorzeny (Burn Gorman) who were in command at that time. But, the film was not meant as a history lesson, but as a drama that gets played out becomes of the inspiration of a small number of patriots that stood up to the Nazis to save thousands of Jews.
Director Mark Schmidt makes good use of his two hours of film that flies by at a fast pace. Even with that amount of time he has to cram in a lot of script in order to show the magnitude of the problem the people of Budapest and surrounding villages face. He holds nothing back showing the atrocities of killing innocent people, mostly by those who want to use their power and others that actually believed in what Hitler was doing. To offset the violence he entwines a love story between the brave Elek and Hannah, both believing they can save lives even though theirs are hanging in the balance.
The whole cast does a terrific job of depicting their characters. From the leads to the extras they are all in sync with the story and show the anguish and depravity of both victims and killers. Taking the lead as Elek Cohen, Jonas Armstrong shows that his character has always been head strong, but in a protective way. He’s the first to commit to the fight to save his people, even if it means killing despotic Hungarians to do it. Elek vacillates between being a protector and vigilantly in the quest to save as many lives as he can and not hesitating to put himself in mortal danger to do so.
Adding some nice chemistry to Elek and Hannah’s romance, actress Hannah Tointon gives the film one of the reasons why Elek puts himself in danger. But, she’s also a fighter herself trying her best to save as many Jews she can by hiding them in a local catholic convent. Hannah can be both feisty yet level headed making sure that Elek is being safe while he’s taking chances that he may be discovered dressed in a Nazi uniform.
Included in the story is Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy played by Ben Kingsley. Thinking it would be safer to ally with Germany instead of Russia before the war, the leader was able to keep his people safe. That is until Hitler needed the strategic country to fend off the Russians. When the Germans start hunkering down in his biggest cities giving the notion that the Nazis were not winning the war, Horthy contacts the US Forces and United Kingdom to save his people. But, by then it was too late as the Russian forces were already invading.
Walking with the Enemy has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for war violence including crimes against humanity. The killing may be a little too violent for the immature so be cautious when inviting youngsters to see the film. Hangings, defenseless people being mowed down with machine guns, and other atrocities are depicted.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Another important film that shows man’s inhumanity to man.
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, Ben Kingsley, Burn Gorman, William Hope, Simon Kunz, Simon Dutton, Robert Jezek, Mark Wingett, Andrew Brooke, Charles Hubbell, Karl Backus, Richard Albrecht, Giles Alderson, Simon Hepworth, David Leon, Vlad Radescu, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Mark Wells, Ralph Brown, Shane Taylor.
Director: Mark Schmidt
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for war violence including crimes against humanity
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Running Time: 2 hrs. 4 min.
Video Release Date: April 11, 2017
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released in: DVD