Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | 6:04 p.m.
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars (it lost to A Separation), the Polish Holocaust drama In Darkness is exactly the kind of respectable mediocrity the Academy likes to reward. It’s a well-crafted, well-intentioned historical drama that’s long on history and short on truly engaging drama. Based on the true story of a sewer inspector who helped hide a group of Jews beneath the Polish city of Lvov, the movie hits all the familiar beats of the hiding-from-Nazis genre, including the suspense of almost being found out, the benefactor deciding the risk is too great and the deprivation as resources run low. Director Agnieszka Holland, who’s worked extensively in American TV drama, structures some impressive dramatic sequences, but the movie drags at nearly two and a half hours, and it adds very little to the already overburdened cinematic canon of Holocaust stories. It’s the kind of movie that’s valuable for awards shows, but not much else.