Frankly, the story of famed mime Marcel Marceau’s World War II-era exploits as a member of the French Jewish should pack more of a punch.
On a purely conceptual level, the logline alone promises narrative gold. Young Marcel Mangel (Jesse Eisenberg), doggedly pursuing a life on the stage in defiance of his kindly but conservative butcher father (Karl Marcovics, who also featured in the 3007 German Resistance drama The Counterfeiters), finds his artistic aspirations curtailed by the rise of fascism in Europe in general, and the Nazi invasion of France in particular. Throwing in with the Resistance, he soon finds himself using his acting skills to fool German soldiers, his artistic talents to forge documents, and his sheer courage to lead hundreds of Jewish orphans to the safety of neutral Switzerland.
On paper, it sounds fantastic. In the hands of Venezuelan director Jonathan Jakubowicz, who writes and directs, Resistance (and can we also note what a drably generic title that is) is merely pretty good. While nothing can take away from the sheer horror and heroism of the actual events depicted—even the briefest shuffle through the historical record will leave you in no doubt of that—as mounted here they’re simply the plot points and tonal cues common to any dozen resistance thrillers and Holocaust dramas.