The Round-Up is set in the France in July 1942, during the Second World War when the Nazis forced their occupation and, on Hitler’s order, rounded-up all the Jews to take them to internment camps, with death as their only eventual fate – something that none of them knew at the time, nor did the nurses and doctors who were there to look after them, should they get ill.
The film mostly follows the Weismann and the Zygler families, living in Montmartre, who are amongst a planned 24,000 Jews – all singled out by having a yellow star sewn onto the chest of their clothes – who are rounded-up with the intention of being sent to those camps, potentially – in their minds – with a view for the men being sent off to arms factories and salt mines in Poland.
Prior to this, they used to have as content a life one can do when their country has become occupied by the Nazis, but there was always with the threat of being taken away, the first stop being the Winter Velodrome for two days, which is where we first see Dr. David Sheinbaum (Jean Reno), as a doctor treating the sick there. And the Nazis did not discriminate. It wasn’t just families in general that were taken, but people from old folks’ homes and asylums, as well as hospitals with patients who’d only just been operated on. After that, they are transferred to the Beaune-la-Rolande camp.
Along the way, many of the Jews try various ways to evade capture, and it turned out that while over 13,000 of them were captured, there were still 10,000 that weren’t caught due to being hidden away by brave Parisians.
The acting is okay, but it never feels like anyone really pushes the boat out – relying on the emphatic music to create the atmosphere. This is especially true of Jean Reno, and not just because he doesn’t turn up until 46 minutes into the film. Mélanie Laurent is there as Nurse Annette Monod, and is tasked with seeing to those who are ill, but it turns out to be a fairly one-dimensional role. There is a bond struck up between Reno and Laurent, but it doesn’t have time to be fully-developed in the film’s duration.
In fact, as sad as the premise of the film is, it spends all of its time just going from A to B to C, and so on, and failing to really draw you into the proceedings. There’s more emotion shown by the firemen who turn up at the Velodrome, supposedly just to check the fire hoses, but who are ready to give out water to everyone, with many of the detainees passing letters to them to post out to friends and relatives on the outside.
Overall, while it does have a number of heartfelt moments in the second half, it does find a fair portion of its first hour going rather too slowly.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture looks crisp and clear throughout with no problems whatsoever, bringing the grim misery of their predicament to the screen. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, but while it’s drama and not intended as a demo disc, the sound is well-used when the firemen turn up in the Velodrome, ready to give water out to everyone.
There’s only one extra and that’s a Making Of (26:29) featuring chat from key cast and crew members including Jean Reno, Melanie Laurent, the director, Rose Bosch, and also comments from one of the real survivors, the name of which I obviously cannot reveal as that’s what you find out while you watch it.
The menu features clips of the film set against Claude Debussy’s Clair De Lune, which also plays during the final scene. There are subtitles in English only, oddly not unselectable so while the film features French, German and Yiddish languages throughout, anyone wanting to choose to watch it without subtitles cannot. Why remove that as an option? As for the chapters, those are a paltry 12. At nearly two hours, this film needs twice as many.
Also, I came across a defect early on in the disc, during the opening credits. It never happened again so could just have been a one-off problem.
Running time: 115 minutes
Cat no: REVB2748
Released: July 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio
Languages: French, German, Yiddish
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Rose Bosch
Producer: Alain Goldman
Screenplay: Rose Bosch
Music: Christian Henson
Dr. David Sheinbaum: Jean Reno
Annette Monod: Mélanie Laurent
Schmuel Weismann: Gad Elmaleh
Sura Weismann: Raphaëlle Agogué
Jo Weismann: Hugo Leverdez
Nono Zygler: Mathieu Di Concerto/Romain Di Concerto
Simon Zygler: Oliver Cywie
Bella Zygler: Sylvie Testud
Dina Traube: Anne Brochet
Rachel Weismann: Rebecca Marder
Anna Traube: Adèle Exarchopoulos
La concierge ‘Tati’: Catherine Allégret
Lucienne: Sandra Moreno
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.