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A Terrific Cast Flowing through a Compelling Story and a Formulaic Movie
The 27th March of 2020 is a good day, a decent day, a day to enjoy a fresh Jesse Eisenberg double feature - "Resistance" and "Vivarium". I decided to start with this biographical WW2 drama in which Eisenberg portrays the real life figure Marcel Marceau, one of the world's most famous mimes and a resistance fighter during the era of WW2 in Europe. The simple verdict is this - it's kind of a mixed bag.
"Resistance" struggles to excel in the well-crowded niche of various WW2 dramas, adventures and historical tales, all usually told in similar fashion. The true story they're telling is compelling, but the screenplay less so. Perhaps the best part of "Resistance" is its first act, which introduces us to Marcel, his love for acting and art, his newfound purpose in helping war orphaned children and the resistance itself - this is where we enjoy endearing scenes and the heart of humanism most vividly, before the movie slowly transforms in by-the-numbers war thriller. Ultimately, "Resistance" feels disjointed and underwhelmingly unoriginal when it comes to screenplay and direction. Thankfully, a whole lot is redeemed by a terrific cast that seems to pour their hearts and souls into authentic and passionate performances, despite the character development being written in perhaps an oversimplified manner. Jesse Eisenberg is very possibly at his best, portraying Marcel with respect, emotional energy and deep feeling. However, I surely know nothing about it, but his mime work just seemed a little shabby at moments. Poésy (as female lead) and Schweighöfer (as central villain) are other performance stand-outs, making the core cast unshakeable. Edgar Ramirez and Ed Harris, to whomever it may concern, are there for only a single workday on set, shouldn't be top-credited at all. Also, I'm pretty sure that the overall French accent situation in this movie is pretty messed up. "Resistance" is aesthetically well enough designed, cinematography's fluid enough, the last act is visually the most satisfying offering & Angelo Milli's contemporary but fulfilled original score tries its best to help carry the mood throughout.
"Resistance" works as a compelling small-scale indie biopic, its scope is indeed too familiar, but the dooming dryness of a formulaic biopic combine with a formulaic WW2 drama is stopped effectively by a cast that deserves a round of applause. My rating: 6/10.
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