Resistance - DVD Review

'Like most Shakespearean tragedies, those most culpable are the characters who operate on good intentions with ill-thought out ideas.'

Amit Gupta's Resistance is slow-moving, occasionally grim of tone and certainly depressing of plot but it is also aspirational and original British cinema, a production which attempts an ambitious and attractively different story arc, whilst bathing Wales' valleys in Hollywood-esque sheen.

Not that the sheen manifests itself via polished surfaces and gorgeous sets. Resistance is grubby, earthy; a look at what would become of an isolated village during the occupation of Britain, circa World War Two. As Andrea Riseborough's Sarah pines for disappeared love Tom (Tomos Eames) a fragile alliance forges with Tom Wlaschiha's Nazi, Albrecht. Is this alliance collaboration or resistance? Both characters cannot shut out dreams (nightmares?) that it is the former, though clearly each long for it to be latter. The resistance group themselves, formed by the men of the village, are almost entirely absent, Gupta more concerned with the internal conflicts of those who remain.

Riseborough, on a run of quietly appreciated yet little-seen roles, is good but the clear standout here is the heartbreaking turn by Sharon Morgan, as village elder Maggie. As the final third throws depressing situ after depressing situ at her, Maggie gradually breaks down, her resistance shattered by an assault less obvious than the sieges of Manchester and Birmingham, mentioned in dispatches, but crushingly intent on removing the little forms of love that manage to remain under occupation.

Gupta showcases this with few flinches as Resistance marches to a conclusion which suggests it is futile. Like most Shakespearean tragedies, those most culpable are the characters who operate on good intentions with ill-thought out ideas. Albrecht is quietly managed through flinches which show heart and overt operational decisions which show the ruthlessness of an evil occupying force. Like all of the characters, including the mist shrouded mountains of the secluded valley, he is well drawn, benefiting from a script by Gupta and novelist Owen Sheers, which values unflinching honesty over melodrama.

Depressing, yes, but also an uplifting monument to British cinema which aspires to produce original ideas, showcased with note-perfect direction. Morgan and Riseborough personify the heartbreaking conflict of an occupation fictitious to the human race only its location.

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