In Darkness (★★★★ Empire review)

InDarknessSquareSince her international breakthrough Europa Europa, Poland’s best-known female director, Agnieszka Holland, has been busy directing episodes of such acclaimed TV dramas as The Wire and The Killing. Her return to the big screen, Poland’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, is a heavy-going, yet ultimately rewarding drama, loosely based on the harrowing true story of a group of Jews hiding in the sewage system of a Nazi-occupied Polish city (Lvov) during the Second World War, and the petty thief (Robert Wieckiewicz) who may prove to be their own Oskar Schindler. As the title suggests, much of the lengthy running time takes place in Stygian gloom, giving the audience a strong sense of what the protagonists suffered during their 14-month-long ordeal. When the darkness lifts, the award-winning cinematography astounds in this heartfelt tale, a worthy addition to the canon of Holocaust survival stories. ★★★★

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