Film can do many different things. However, one can make an argument that one of the most fascinating aspects of it is that it can help us remember bits and pieces of history that otherwise most people may forget. Not everything you see in a film ‘based on a true story’ is classifiable as history. But the truly good ones give you a gist of it, and make you want to open a book or do a deep dive into the subject online. Such is the case with Plan A.
Plan A is the story of a Jewish man, Max (August Diehl, The King’s Man) who survived the Holocaust. Like most Jewish Europeans, he finds out that his family didn’t survive like he does. Lost, he allies with members of the British Jewish Infantry Brigade Group. They are working to relocate survivors and kill Nazis who were responsible for the deaths of Jews during the war. Along the way they discover a plot by Nakam.
Nakam is a Jewish group looking for revenge whose goal is to kill as many Germans as possible. They seek an eye for an eye. They don’t care if they kill women, children or men, just as long as they get their vengeance. Max is asked to infiltrate the group and find out how and when they plan on poisoning the German water supply. The question is, whose side is Max really on, and whose agenda does he wish to aid.
The history behind Plan A is truly the most interesting part of the movie. To find out that Nakam actually existed is terrifying. So is the fact that that their leader Abba Kovner (Ishai Golan, The Golem) actually did seek out ways of obtaining a poison to get revenge on an entire country. What they left out in the movie however is even scarier. There was a plan b, and that it got deployed. In a way it’s understandable why the filmmakers only decided to tell part of the story, because it might paint the Jewish people in a different light in some people’s eyes.
The rest of the film, including Max and his story, is pure fiction. Max exists purely so the story could be told, but his story, when looked at as fiction, is still interesting. He struggles with survivor’s guilt and the loss of everything that made his life worth living, as do most of the characters, and while he wants revenge, he also wants justice, which he discovers to be completely different things. Diehl plays the role perfectly too, looking haunted from start to finish.
Plan A is a good movie, but not a great one. The reason for this lies in the terrible twist the filmmakers decided to throw in at the end which undermines everything they showed you before. It was unnecessary, and hurt the emotional flow they worked so hard to build. Even so, most will find the story they do tell to be interesting and worth watching.