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  Resistance Is Futile
Year: 2011
Director: Amit Gupta
Stars: Michael Sheen, Tom Wlaschiha, Andrea Riseborough, Sharon Morgan, Iwan Rheon, Kimberley Nixon, Stanislav Ianevski, Anatole Taubman, Alexander Doetsch, Mossie Smith, Tomos Eames, George Taylor, Nia Gwynne
Genre: Drama, War, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1944 and D-Day failed in June, leaving the way open for Nazi Germany to overcome the Russian and Allied forces, which they are well on their way to succeeding with. In Britain, the Nazis have invaded and taken over most of the country, with only a few scattered centres of resistance in existence, but here, in this isolated Welsh valley, life has been going on much as it ever did. Until now, when the enemy soldiers arrive on the day that most of the men of the local village have disappeared without telling their wives or families where they have gone. Now the women must cope alone...

The science fiction idea of alternate universes has been used in anything from big budget blockbusters to television series to novels to low budget efforts such as this, but it's the notion of the Nazis winning World War II which fires up most imaginations, and you might have thought that given that premise here you would be in for a tense, economical drama in the confines of that sinister plotline. This was very much in the vein of Went the Day Well? which was made as the war was actually going on, and It Happened Here, the sixties take on the subject which was made on about as meagre funds as Resistance was.

Yet while those two examples were very impressive in their ways, in this case the alternate history was used to prop up an uninteresting dilemma: the whole country was going down the drain, but we had to be more concerned with one woman's potentially adulterous relationship which might not amount to anything very much in the long run. The woman was Sarah (Andrea Riseborough), an abandoned wife whose husband has deserted her to fight the invaders (or so we assume, we receive few clues as to what is really going on), and she begins to have feelings for one of the occupying solders, the Captain played by Tom Wlaschiha who doesn't like the war any more than she does.

Therefore the Captain, Albrecht, decides he is quite partial to the idea of settling down with his troops in this remote area and sitting out the rest of the conflict until peace has been restored - Nazi peace, that is, as from what we're told the battle against them is being quashed. That's the trouble with these alternates, in that they would have us believe the Nazis were a lot more effective than they turned out to be, which given they decisively failed to attain their goals in real life can be worrying to see that there are some creators of fiction who prefer to believe the opposite could be possible. Fine if you're Philip K. Dick and you've written Man in the High Castle where you can use the premise to investigate mindbending twists, but more contentious for the unchallenged backdrop to romance.

Mind you, even that romance here never heads anywhere, and the overriding mood of Resistance is muted in the extreme, packed full of meaningful gazes, misty landscapes, and very little occurring to justify the audience's investment in something that tells us little about what could have been quite absorbing. The only resistance we actually see is sparked by one of the missing husbands (Michael Sheen) who quietly lectures a young lad (Iwan Rheon) about what to do with the rifle he has hidden under the floorboards of his bedroom. Not that he takes up arms against those he believes have been collaborating with the enemy - though there are plenty of those tentatively welcoming the peaceful German soldiers into their community when nobody there really wants to fight - he actually takes a different action, although calling it action might imply this was in some way exciting. It wasn't, and so doleful you could understand why the few who saw it were so resentful at the time they spent here. Music by Mark Bradshaw.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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