The Polish drama "In Darkness," one of this year's Oscar nominees in the foreign-language category, reads like "Schindler's List" in miniature: A gentile of dubious morals reluctantly comes to the aid of Jews threatened with extinction during the Holocaust, and becomes ennobled by the effort.
In the hands of director Agnieszka Holland (who previously explored the Holocaust in "Europa, Europa" in 1990), "In Darkness" is a thoughtful and harrowing drama about the lengths people will go to survive and the changes of heart that one person undergoes to help them.
When we first meet Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), he's a full-time sewer worker and sometime thief in Lvov, Poland, at the start of World War II, scraping by on a meager salary as he tries to support his wife Wanda (Kinga Preis) and their daughter. With the Germans occupying Poland, Socha and his co-worker Stefek (Krzysztof Skonieczny) sometimes find and stash gold and jewels left behind by those forced into the Jewish ghetto. When the Nazis clear out the ghetto, Socha and Stefek discover that dozens of Jews have found their way into the sewer system, and are trying to hide there.