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"We can't know what we're capable of, any of us. How can you know what you'd do to stay alive, until you're really asked? I know this now. For most of us, the answer... is anything."
The Grey Zone is a 2001 Holocaust movie set in 1944. It is based on personal memoirs of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a Jewish doctor from Hungary and personal assistant to Dr. Joseph Mengele at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. The movie focuses on the rebellion by the Sonderkommando, Jewish prisoners who worked in the gas chambers and crematoria.
Stars David Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi and Mira Sorvino.
See it now.
This film contains examples of:
- Affably Evil Dr. Mengele, Oberscharführer Mussfeld.
- Bittersweet Ending: 2 of the crematoria are destroyed in the uprising, but all the Sonderkommando and the girl they tried to save were executed.
- Cold-Blooded Torture
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: The scene during the insurrection when some Jews working in a crematorium gang up on the Nazi commander who's whipping them and shouting at them and throw him into one of the furnaces. Frankly, this troper found it very hard to not punch the air and say "Yeah, take that, bastard!" during this scene.
- Death Seeker: Most of the Sonderkommando can't live with what they've been forced to do.
- Driven to Suicide
- Gas Chamber
- Harmful to Minors
- Heroic BSOD
- High Octane Nightmare Fuel
- Infant Immortality: Averted horribly.
- Kill'Em All
- La Résistance
- Les Collaborateurs: Subverted by the Sonderkommando.
- Murder by Cremation
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
- No One Should Survive That: The girl who survived the Gas Chamber.
- Posthumous Narration: The girl gives a particularly haunting one at the end.
Girl: After the revolt half the ovens remain, and we are carried to them together. I catch fire quickly. The first part of me rises in dense smoke, that mingles with the smoke of others. Then there then are the bones, which settle in ash, and these are swept up to be carried to the river. And last, bits of our dust, that simply float there in air, around the working of the new group. These bits of dust are grey. We settle on their shoes, and on their faces, and in their lungs. And they become so used to us that soon they don't cough, and they don't brush us away. At this point they're just moving, breathing and moving, like anyone else still alive in that place. And this is how the work... continues.
- Scream Discretion Shot: The collective screaming from the gas chamber after the door is locked.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Tear Jerker
- Translation Convention
- Truth in Television: See here.