What would you do?
Picking up at the end of World War ll, Plan A follows Max (August Diehl), a survivor of the Holocaust wandering aimlessly searching for his wife and son. Through a series of random encounters, Max arrives in the care of Jewish Ally soldier, Michael (Michael Aloni). Presented with the option to join a resistance force of Jewish survivors or Michael’s Ally rogue squad, Max must decide what revenge truly means.
Based on a true story, Plan A asks a valid, yet difficult question right off the bat: what would you do? If your whole life was suddenly taken from you in a matter of moments, and you were left with no way to rebuild yourself, what would you do to recover? For the vast majority of our characters, recovery means revenge for all of the murdered Jewish people throughout the Holocaust.
Director/writers Doron and Yoaz Paz walk a fine line between telling an interesting story that’s rooted in reality. The Nakam group was very much a real group of Holocaust survivors that sought to take the same number of German lives as Jewish. Naturally, for any storyteller, this would be a challenging story to tell without communicating the wrong kind of message to the audience. Morally, were the survivors justified in their actions? Or, was true revenge found by rising above all else? This is the ultimate choice that our protagonist is faced with. Throughout the majority of the film, the answer is fairly clear but it’s in the moments Max shares with the other members of Nakam that muddy the waters of Max’s morality.
Michael Aloni’s Michael summarizes this decision best – the best revenge is to make sure the future generation can grow without having to experience what they had just gone through. It’s a profoundly deep and difficult message to communicate and Doran and Yoaz pull it off well.
Facing these decisions is no small feat and the acting across the board was one of the main reasons this film succeeded in the way that it did. From the truly devastating performances by August Diehl and Sylvia Hoeks to the inviting yet stern portrayal of Michael, the cast of Plan A deserves any and all praise for the efforts they put in. The only downside of the film was that throughout the second act, it was heavy on the exposition, and light on the urgency. You easily could cut out most of the middle of the film and still pick up on what was happening towards the end.
Outside of that, Plan A turned out to be equal parts pleasant and shocking. For those who don’t know about Nakam or the slice of history seldom talked about, this film helps break down that barrier. For others, there is an intriguing story presented that asks some really challenging questions.
What would you do?
Plan A is on premium digital 3 September and DVD 13 September from Signature Entertainment
Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), September 8, 2021. Rating: NA. Running time: 109 min.
PRODUCTION: A Getaway Pictures, Jooyaa Filmproduktion Berlin, United Channel Moviesm, Phiphen Pictures, and SE Film Production production. Producers: Minu Barati and Skady Lis. Executive Producers: Amanda Bowers, Molly Conners, Vincent Morano, and Jane Oster.
CREW: Writers/Directors: Doron Paz and Yoav Paz. Cinematography: Moshe Mishali. Music: Tal Yardeni.
CAST: Sylvia Hoeks, Michael Aloni, August Diehl, Nikolai Kinski, Oz Zehavi, Milton Welsh, and Yoel Rozenkier.