Blood & Gold is an intoxicating yet sobering mix of action, satire, and thought-provoking commentary delivered in exhilarating, often frighteningly funny ways that consistently top themselves with every bloody turn.
Here is our review of the 2023 Netflix film Blood & Gold, which does not contain spoilers.
Blood & Gold is the second war film about the final days of World War II and the mad dash to steal gold the past month. The other, a Finnish movie titled Sisu, relied on the pure white-knuckle ferociousness of its only main character to see the viewer through.
However, Blood & Gold is slightly different, with black humor akin to Quentin Tarantino. This German action drama is Inglourious Basterds meets The Dirty Dozen, with a potent mix of unexpected wit and sobering themes of moral ambiguity that lead to a euphoric, action-packed rush game of wack-o-mole.
Blood & Gold (2023) Review and Plot Summary
The final days of Hitler’s last days are winding down, and a German deserter named Heinrich (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s Robert Maaser) is running from the Nazis. After being caught and dragged by their deranged officer, von Starnfeld (a terrifying Alexander Scheer), and his psychotic Sergeant (Carnival Row’s Roy McCrerey), to a tree where he’s strung up and ready to die.
That’s when a woman named Elsa (Marie Hacke) cuts him down and saves his life. Elsa is part of a remote village but lives on the outskirts with her brother, Paule (Simon Rupp). However, the Nazis are searching for a secret Jewish treasure supposedly hidden in the community.
In a game of World War II Clue, from an Eva Braun type to a local priest and fat cat Mayor, everyone is a suspect. That’s until all hell breaks loose when the SS squadron drags Paule back to town with them, and Heinrich accompanies Elsa to save him. What happens next is a game of roulette, where the last one standing could be holding their retirement in their hands.
Directed by Peter Thorwarth (Blood Red Sky) and written by scribe Stefan Barth (Motown), this exhilarating and often frighteningly funny film consistently finds ways to top itself with every bloody turn.
Thorwarth has a natural eye for action scenes that don’t pull punches and a keen eye for dramatic juxtaposition. Each scene builds, and no one is safe, subverting the audience’s expectations.
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The performances are excellent here, and a few are even great. While Heinrich ultimately plays the golden boy, frankly, a blonde poster boy for what Hitler called “the master race,” the actor brings plenty of heart and soul to the role.
Hacke’s Elsa’s tough-as-nails approach is welcomed, while Scheer’s Starnfeld is simply terrifying.
Is Blood & Gold Good or Bad?
Blood & Gold is a very good film and may be the best of its kind since Inglourious Basterds. The intoxicating yet sobering mix of action, satire, and thought-provoking commentary on moral ambiguity, deception, heroism, and anti-Semitism, among others, is simply riveting.
Barth’s script holds the film together because no character gets away clean, and hardly any are innocent.
Is Blood & Gold Worth Watching?
Blood & Gold is worth watching and repeating. A darkly comic take on the spoils of war and a revenge tale on Nazi territorial aggression that holds your attention. Germany has recently had a string of terrific Netflix releases, including the masterpiece All Quiet on the Western Front.
Thorwarth’s film isn’t in the same class. However, it’s a creative, bold antidote to the classic war film that shouldn’t be missed.
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