War of Resistance (2011) starring John Rhys-Davies, Mimi Sagadin, Craig Robert Young, David Thomas Jenkins, Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Stass Klassen, Joanie Stewart, Suzy Brack directed by Peter C. Spencer, Josiah Spencer Movie Review

War of Resistance (2011)   2/52/52/52/52/5

John Rhys-Davies in War of Resistance (2011) (aka: Return to the Hiding Place)

The Dutch Duty

Aware that the Nazis will soon swallow up Holland and in doing so lead to the death of many innocent Jews in their death camps Corrie ten Boom (Mimi Sagadin) sets about training up teenagers to work as a secret army to help the Jewish community who are forced to flee for their life. Physics student Hans Poley (David Thomas Jenkins) decides against joining the Nazis and in order to protect him his parents arrange for him to go into hiding in the home of Corrie ten Boom. It is during his time there that he witnesses the cruelties suffered by the Jews as well as the work of the resistance fighters via Pert Hartog (Craig Robert Young) and Aty van Woerden (Rachel Spencer Hewitt).

When I see in a write up for a movie that it mentions the Holocaust it leads me to it as I am interested in their plight be it fighting the Nazis or having to deal with the death camps and their lasting effects. As such I have watched quite a few Holocaust movies and when I judge "War of Resistance", also known as "Return to the Hiding Place", against those other movies it comes up short. Part of that is because whilst it takes its lead from facts the focus is different with what unfortunately feels a romanticized version of the resistance fighters which might appeal to a young audience but did nothing for me.

Let me just mention a couple of scenes which felt wrong to me such as a romantic scene between Pert and Aty by a windmill as firstly it felt too romanticized and perfect whilst the despair of the time seemed to have been forgotten about as they mess around in the sun. Then there is a scene of Art mocking Hitler as we see Hans wearing a woman's dress as a disguise it is again a scene which doesn't ring true with the danger of the situation lacking. There are many more of these scenes which feel romanticized rather than gritty with none of it being helped by the fact it has an unnatural clean look which only adds to the lack of realism.

But here for me is the real problem as "War of Resistance" tells a story as if the audience is already aware of the story. Now I know that some people saw an unfinished version of the movie which would explain this issue except I saw the final version and it still left me feeling that this was a movie for those who knew what was going on before watching. It is annoying as the story of bravery of these young Dutch fighters deserves to be told but done in a much better and more authentic looking way than this.

What this all boils down to is that "War of Resistance" didn't do it for me as not only did I find it unnaturally clean looking with a lack of grit and realism but I also found it a movie made for those who already know the story and can fill in the gaps.