The Grey Zone (2001)

Directed by Tim Blake Nelson

The story of Auschwitz's twelfth Sonderkommando — one of the thirteen consecutive "Special Squads" of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating moral dilemma of assisting in the extermination of fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life.

There's something distinctly off about the whole "what would you do if you were in their situation?" question this film is posing in a way that I can't quite articulate. My dislike for it goes beyond the obvious observation that it is horribly solipsistic (and analogous to the US-centric casting, perhaps?), and that the facile way the question feels designed to 'engage' the audience as if we were bored 15-year-old kids in Ethics class... all whilst disingenuously posing as a Worthy and Serious question. Yes, there is an understandable curiosity — indeed, famously, a "fascination" — about the Third Reich and the Holocaust that is in no way an endorsement of it, but we need to do better than this pornography of miserabilism.