Argentina, 1954, nine years past the end of the war, and in a Buenos Aires café an American man reads the English language newspapers over his coffee, but his mind is on the conversation at a nearby table though it is spoken in German, the two men expressing their fears for fellow countrymen who have gone missing, and for themselves.
Their concerns are well founded, for the American is former Air Force officer Will Spalding, his bomber downed south of the Rhine and deep in occupied territory a decade before, he the only one who escaped after the other survivors were executed one by one by Colonel Martin Bach of the SS, a man who fled to South America in the final days before the liberation and for whom Spalding has searched all these angry years.
Bach’s location a mansion in Bolivia known as the Condor’s Nest where former Third Reich officers discuss Aryan mythology over cocktails, writer and director Phil Blattenberger’s second feature is largely shot in North Carolina but has ambition spanning continents, though unfortunately not the budget to match them, the prelude and aftermath of the crash shown rather than the event and all the distant locations shown only in brief establishing stock shots or with the characters conspicuously facing away from the camera.
Spalding as unlikely a one-man army as he was a lookout back in the war, nervous, twitchy and incapable of a plausible cover story (“I sell bananas and he’s deaf!”), his commanding officer’s judgement was perhaps not the best on that fateful day, remaining with the crashed aircraft for a leisurely afternoon in the sun rather than immediately scattering and seeking cover, though the fact that it was Spalding who was sent to the attic of the nearby farmhouse and so survived may have something to do with the fact that actor Jacob Keohane is also a producer of the film.
His limited skills meaning the interrogations conducted in his surprisingly spacious and well-let basement take place at gunpoint and immediately require shallow graves dug in the jungle whether useful information was obtained or not, a smarter operator might welcome the assistance of Nazi hunting Mossad agent Leyna Rahn (Corinne Britti), but Spalding is not smart, though with hindsight she turns out to be just as recklessly incompetent as he, another wide-eyed proponent of bullets first and questions later.
The trail which leads them via nuclear physicist Arnold Vogel (Al Pagano) to Bach and Heinrich Himmler (Arnold Vosloo and James Urbaniak) more blind luck than ability and populated with henchmen less Deutschland über alles and more Village People, Condor’s Nest lacks the budget to go big or the inclination to go intimate and intense, the dialogue and situations more Boys’ Own than Boys from Brazil despite the locale and ending in a literal shooting gallery as the enemy hordes throw themselves into the line of fire, presumably to end their suffering.
Condor’s Nest will be available on digital download from Monday 20th March and DVD from Monday 3rd April