The Aryan Couple

The Aryan Couple


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Second World War has provided the backdrop for many thought-provoking, intelligent and, if we're honest, entertaining dramas, from Adrien Brody-starrer The Pianist to Spielberg opuses Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List.

It seems almost inevitable then that someone would blot the copybook. So it falls to John Daly to serve up the most mawkish and shallow take on the holocaust committed to screen in many a long year.

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Martin Landau is a rich Jew, Joseph Krauzenberg. He and his wife Rachel (Judy Parfitt) live in a mansion and are tended by the Aryan couple of the film's title, Hans (Kenny Doughty) and Ingrid Vassman (Caroline Carver). Things are getting nasty in Germany and so Joseph is to sign over his business to Himmler (Danny Webb) in return for safe passage to Switzerland for him and his family. But are their Aryan couple really part of the "master race"?

"Bad guys" Webb, Steven Mackintosh as Eichmann and Christopher Fulford as Edelhein put in creditable performances but they are swimming against the tide.

From the outset director Daly (who also co-wrote the movie) wages war on decent scripting and staging. The dialogue is beyond stilted, with Landau and Parfitt, in particular, being given the most dreadful of lines and banal exchanges. There is no trust placed in the audience's ability to get the scriptwriters' drift, either. For example, we are told at least three times that Ingrid is pregnant, to the point where the characters seem obssessed with it.

Meanwhile, the hoi polloi are reduced to turgid montage scenes of sad, tear-stained faces and reaching hands, more befitting a French and Saunders parody than a serious attempt at drama.

Carver and Doughty, meanwhile, have all the acting weight of meringue as they dash about looking pretty.

Couple this with the raft of additional TV old-stagers and you have what feels like a not-terribly-good ITV drama. Even the music is irritating. Sweeping strings wail all over the place and - in case we fail to recognise the 'deep emotion' of the script - horn cues nip in at dramatic moments to help you 'feel their pain'. The result is, indeed, painful but not in the way Daly hoped.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2006
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The Aryan Couple packshot
A rich German Jew makes a deal with the devil to ensure safe passage to Switzerland.
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Director: John Daly

Writer: John Daly, Kendrew Lascelles

Starring: Martin Landau, Judy Parfitt, Caroline Carver, Kenny Doughty, Danny Webb, Christopher Fulford, Steven Mackintosh

Year: 2004

Runtime: 119 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK, USA


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