BLOOD & GOLD (2023) is the latest international movie to premiere on Netflix, as it hails from Germany.
I said this recently, but this has been my favorite part of Netflix of late, their making available foreign language films that I otherwise would not see at the theater.
BLOOD & GOLD is a World War II action movie that is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009) only not as intense nor as bitingly sharp with its quirky dialogue, traits that Tarantino excels at. You could say BLOOD & GOLD is INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS lite, although it’s pretty violent in its own right and does contain some unexpected comedic moments.
They both contain lots of creative killings of Nazis, and this sort of thing admittedly does make for high cinematic entertainment.
BLOOD & GOLD opens in the final days of World War II, when the Allies are closing in fast on the Nazis in Germany, and most can see that the end of Hitler’s reign is near. A soldier named Heinrich (Robert Maaser) is about to be hung by his small Nazi unit for desertion, and this unit leaves him for dead, but moments later, he is saved by a young woman Elsa (Marie Hacke) who brings him back to her farm where she lives with her brother Paule, who has Down syndrome. Elsa hates the Nazis because they killed her family, and of course her brother wouldn’t be safe with them around, while Heinrich explains that he deserted because he was sick of killing for no reason, and also because he’s searching for the only surviving member of his family, his young daughter.
Meanwhile, the troop which had hung Heinrich makes their way to Elsa’s village because their leader, von Starnfeld (Alexander Scheer) knows that a fortune in Jewish gold is hidden there. What he doesn’t know is a group of prominent villagers, led by the mayor, has stolen it for themselves and have no intention of giving it back.
The rest of the movie intertwines these two plots, as the Nazis search both for the gold and for Heinrich once they learn that he is still alive, while Heinrich and Elsa fight for their survival and freedom. The result is a well-made, well-written action thriller that contains lots of really well-choreographed action scenes.
Director Peter Thorwarth creates many memorable action sequences, including Heinrich’s rescue of Elsa when she’s about to be raped by Nazis, Paule’s fight for survival in a church tower when the Nazis bring him there to execute him in front of a crowd, and the exciting finale in the church when everyone is converging for the gold.
And there are thrilling dramatic scenes as well, like Elsa’s escape plan from von Starnfeld, who has decided to make her his bride.
Peter Thorwarth previously directed the vampire movie BLOOD RED SKY (2021) which I loved. I enjoyed BLOOD & GOLD even more.
The screenplay by Stefan Barth is very good. The story is a winner, and it includes many quirky characters, especially the different villagers, and memorable heroes and villains. The dialogue for the most part is strong, although it’s not quite as edgy enough as it needs to be. It’s missing the Tarantino-style cultural references and humor. It comes very close though.
Robert Maaser is excellent in the lead role as Heinrich. He’s believable as an action hero, and he is also very sincere. This is the second time in a week that I’ve seen Maaser in a movie. He had a supporting role in the comedy THE MACHINE (2023) in which he played a Russian mobster. He’s much better and much more memorable, and three-dimensional, here in BLOOD & GOLD.
Marie Hacke is equally as strong as Elsa. The scene where she plots her escape from von Starnfeld is the best in the movie. Speaking of von Starnfeld, Alexader Scheer is sufficiently villainous in the role. He wears a partial mask for most of the movie, and when he removes it later in the film, the CGI/make-up showing the hole in his jaw is very well done.
All supporting players in this one are excellent.
BLOOD & GOLD is a stylish, well-told adventure, filled with intense scenes of action and violence, memorable characters, and a spirited narrative that doesn’t quit.
This one satisfies from beginning to end.
I give it three stars.
Four stars – Perfect, Top of the line
Three and a half stars- Excellent
Three stars – Very Good
Two and a half stars – Good
Two Stars – Fair
One and a half stars – Pretty Weak
One star- Poor
Zero stars – Awful