Naked Among Wolves (Nackt under Wölfen) (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, War
Director: Philipp Kadelbach
Distributor: Just Entertainment
Duration: 102 minutes

Naked Among Wolves (Nackt under Wölfen) (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

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Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Even more than 70 years after the end of the Second World War, some items are still sensitive to a lot of people and even new stories and facts are discovered. While there is already a plethora of war movies on the market, movies about the people who endured the horrible practices of war, rather than the actual soldiers, are starting to gain a certain amount of popularity outside of Hollywood. These movies are often a representation of the gut wrenching choices average Joes had to make to stay alive or in the case of the following movie, Naked Among Wolves (Nackt under Wölfen) to choose whether keeping one’s humanity is more important than merely surviving.

Naked Among Wolves

Even though the movie starts off with the incarceration of Hans Pippig (Florian Stetter) in Buchenwald, which was a densely populated concentration camp, the story soon shifts to a few years later, when the Americans were almost at their doorstep. This camp also had its fair share of communistic prisoners, who secretly banded together planning an uprising for when the time would call for it. Sadly, with the huge amount of SS troops stationed in the makeshift prison, it was more a struggle for survival rather than a fertile ground for uprisings and rebellion. While the introduction sketches the moment of how Hans ended up there, it’s actually all about the timeframe two weeks before Buchenwald was liberated.

Fourteen days before the liberation of the camp, as well as the possible uprising, a new ‘shipment’ of internees arrives, and while this is all in an average day’s worth for the other inhabitants of Buchenwald, there is one peculiar new prisoner, who is extremely worried about his suitcase. Upon closer inspection, at least by Hans and other prisoners, they discover that his suitcase is not filled with personal belongings but with a small child. They all realize that if the child would be registered he would simply end up being beaten to death. That being said, keeping him alive and well, in secret, could also mean the death of those harboring him, which might lead to even more investigations and the discovery of those planning the rebellion. In times like these, it’s always hard to choose between safeguarding one’s humanity or aim for survival, cost what it may.

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Naked Among Wolves is a very slow moving movie, which is not necessarily bad as it allows the viewer to see certain events in depth. This movie is more about choosing to sacrifice a young life in order to safeguard many others, but having to live with this horrible choice for the rest of your life. On the other hand, this movie feels like a more dramatic La vita è bella, albeit without the tearjerkers and memorable acting performances that went with it. That being said, the movie aims to show certain snippets involving choices, and it does so properly, even while it sometimes sacrifices a bit of story value in the process.

A fun addition is the usage of real footage when the movie presents you with some factual material. These are rather useful intermezzos to help paint a broader picture of the situation, instead of just focusing on the plot with the child in the suitcase. While these facts were certainly not necessary to tell the aforementioned story, it helps adding a layer of drama to the overall experience.

Acting performances are quite decent, even though it’s not always clear who is who. Ranging from the lead characters to the extras, things are being presented in a very convincing way, and it seems that some actors even had to watch their diets for quite some time, as malnutrition was quite common in the camps. The child, clearly not older than a kid attending kindergarten, does a stellar job, even with the limited screen time the boy gets.

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Sadly, this Blu-ray release comes with no extra features, which weren’t necessary but it ends up feeling like a missed opportunity however you look at it. Seeing the Buchenwald camp was an actual concentration camp during the Second World War, it would have been nice to learn a bit more about both the camp and perhaps some of its old ‘residents’. Of course, the movie stands fine on its own, but as it’s already directed to those who probably have an interest in these horrendous events, some actual historical facts, that were not presented in the movie, would have been quite nice.


 Naked Among Wolves is a great story about upholding principles and values in a situation where these things are often forgotten. While the slow pace and somewhat uneventful plot might not suit everyone, those interested in dramatic movies about the Second World War will surely enjoy this piece of foreign cinema.

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Naked Among Wolves (Nackt under Wölfen) (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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