resistance

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Jakubowicz (Secuestro express)
STARRING: jesse eisenberg, clemence poesy, FElix Moati and Matthias Schweighofer

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Before he becomes a world-famous mime, aspiring Jewish actor Marcel Mangel joins the French Resistance to save thousands of orphaned children from the reign of the Nazis.

I love a good WWII film. Filled with history, heroism and a cracking narrative, they transport you back to the time of global struggle and the triumph of the human spirit. 

 

Even though I love WWII films, we’ve nearly seen every angle of the conflict from Saving Private Ryan to Letters from Iwa Jima and everything in between. But I hadn’t heard of the story of Marcel Marceau and his rescue of Jewish orphans. Resistance is a terrific tale. 

 

All Marcel Marceau (Jesse Eisenberg) wants is a life for the arts.  Working at his father’s butcher shop during the day, the talented mime tries to make his dream come true on the city’s small stages and  to  win  the affections of politically active Emma (Clémence  Poésy). To please her, Marcel agrees to join a dangerous mission that will change the course of his life forever: they want  to  save  123  Jewish  orphans  from the grasp of the German Nazis and the ruthless Obersturmführer of the SS Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer)and take them across the border to Switzerland. Together with Emma, Marcel joins the French resistance to stand firmly against  the  atrocities  of  the  war.  His art will prove the greatest weapon against the horrors of war.

 

Resistance is a thoroughly thrilling and compelling narrative, filled with all the drama, action and heroism that you would expect from a WWII film. Although it's slightly slow in the middle act, the film rights itself as it hurtles into the third act as Marceau and his small band of the French resistance attempt to get a group of Jewish orphans across the border to the safety of Switzerland. 

 

Resistance also poses a couple of important and poignant questions. Is violent resistance necessary against an opposing, barbaric force or is there a peaceful way of resisting, to make the world a much better place? It also illustrates that even in the most horrendous of circumstance, art is absolutely necessary to allow the human spirit to soar. 

 

The ensemble cast led beautifully by Jesse Eisenberg in a very un-Eisenberg performance alongside the wondrous Clemence Poesy is terrific, with Matthias Schweighöfer bringing a terrifyingly human performance as the horrific Nazi Klaus Barbie thats reminiscient of Fiennes’ turn in Schindler's List

 

Resistance is a powerful true tale of the heroic acts of mime Marcel Marceau and a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. 

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