Sort of a bad-Nazi acting Olympics for second-tier British actors, "The Aryan Couple" is so full of strutting psychos in black leather raincoats with scars on their faces, it comes to resemble a "Saturday Night Live" parody of a "Jeopardy for Nazis" game show more than anything. The whole thing is coarse and vulgar, as it hides its low fascinations behind a scrim of Holocaust piety until it becomes pure kitsch.

In Hungary in 1944, a seedy, feral Heinrich Himmler (Danny Webb) leverages a wealthy Jewish industrialist (Martin Landau) out of homes and art collections in exchange for survival of self and kin. Yet Himmler isn't really the bad guy. Neither is Adolf Eichmann (Steven Mackintosh), who drops in for coffee after dinner. The true villain is one Obersturmbannfuhrer Edelhein -- he's the one with the scar -- and his crime isn't genocide but leering, sneering, slobbering designs on Ingrid Vassman, the Jewish industrialist's gentile maid. It's like writer-director John Daly didn't think genocide was bad enough; he had to trump it by making his villain a masher as well!

What's really appalling about "The Aryan Couple" is that it secretly loves the high theater of Nazism. With a fetishist's delight, it conjures up SS units standing at attention at railway stations in the night as dogs bark and strain at the leash; broad, empty halls decorated in flowers and swastikas so that the sound of the jackboots echoing through them has a kind of mythic reverberation; uniforms all aspangle with the higher fruit salad of the Nazi decoration obsession. It only pretends to hate these monsters.

-- Stephen Hunter