Set in the chaotic aftermath of World War II, In Tranzit centers on a group of German prisoners of war who are accidentally sent to a female-run Soviet prison camp. Vera Farmiga
stars as Natalia, a self-certain Russian doctor who refuses to have her
not-quite-all-there husband Max (Thomas Kretschmann) committed to a
sanitarium; John Malkovich is Pavlov, the camp warden who nurses a
long-held crush on Natalia. When several guards are given the task of weeding out the SS officers from the general population, they embark upon a grim game of cat-and-mouse with the embittered prisoners. Each group slowly comes to learn that situations are not what they seem merely on the surface — that prejudices are sometimes unjustly held and love can be found in even the harshest of places.
A sort of Farmiga double feature/companion piece to fellow World War II picture The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, in which the actress played a stay-at-home mother who embraces willful obliviousness with regards to the soldierly duties of her Nazi commandant husband (David Thewlis), In Tranzit is a finely acted if austere work, and it looks great. Documentary filmmaker Tom Roberts brings a robust sense of private detail to the picture, but the storylines — as scripted by Natalia Portnova and Simon van der Borgh — are too myriad and psychologically diffuse to effectively get their hooks into an audience. The picture dawdles and idles when it should be gathering downhill momentum. Hardcore buffs of historical drama will find some reward here, but others will yawn.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case with a deep-set snap-in tray, In Tranzit is presented in 16×9 widescreen, with an English language Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio track. The sole supplemental bonus feature is a short but evocative making-of featurette which includes on-set interviews that shine a light on the difficulties in both mounting the production and actually shooting the film on location. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C- (Movie) C (Disc)