The Grey Zone (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

What would you think if I told you it's a movie written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, starring David Arquette. You'd think it's some kind of slapstick cracker comedy, right?

You couldn't be more wrong.


There is nudity from dozens, maybe hundreds of people of every shape, age, and gender.

But you won't enjoy it..

DVD info from Amazon

  • Commentary by director Tim Blake Nelson

  • Commentary by cast and crew

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

It is a horrifying, graphic, tragic, story about the death camps at Auschwitz, focusing in the Sonderkommandos, the special Jewish units who were used by the Nazis to persuade their fellow Jews to undress and enter the extermination "showers". After the mass slaughter, the Sonderkommandos were also responsible for getting the bodies to the crematoria, then disposing of the ashes. This responsibility bought them plenty of food, clean linens, cigarettes, and four months of life. When the four months were up, they were killed and a new group would be impressed into service. Why did they do it? For the promise of four months of life, which might possibly turn into something more with a German defeat.

The Nazis had no trouble with the first eleven groups, but Group 12 actually managed to organize an armed revolt. Although they all died, they managed to blow up about half of the death camp's facilities

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus: four stars. Ebert 4/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4, Entertainment Weekly A.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.6/10, Yahoo voters 3.5/5
  • Box Office Mojo. It grossed a half million dollars, never reaching more than 36 screens.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. It is horrifying, and I was in tears through half of the movie. It shows just about every detail of life and death in the concentration camps, and even brought some new thoughts to the table. It is very powerful, but obviously not for everyone.

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