PUBLISHED: 10:26 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 11 June 2020
Frédéric Batier, Pantaléon Films GmbH
A film of mime artist Marcel Marceau’s wartime adventures with the French Resistance is an intriguing proposition, well acted, competent but not always believable
A film of mime artist Marcel Marceau’s wartime adventures working with the French Resistance is an intriguing proposition. This though, according to the framing device, is Marcel Marceau’s wartime adventure as told by General Patton (Harris) to a company of allied soldiers in Nuremberg in 1945.
We first meet Marceau (Eisenberg) in Strasbourg in 1938 performing for a totally indifferent cabaret crowd - surely the correct response to any mime artist.
After that, we are whipped through his story of aiding the resistance and saving Jewish orphans. Marceau’s use of clowning to keep the children focused and protected gives the story an occasional Life Is Beautiful touch. But for the most part, this is a standard tale of wartime undercover adventure, well acted (Schweighofer is a chilling Klaus Barbie), competently done, but not always entirely believable.
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And I kept thinking back to those soldiers standing in the German night listening to this story, wondering if Patton was giving them the same version we are watching or if he skipped the two sisters giggling after one of them has sex with Marceau’s brother, or the bit where Barbie rows with Mrs Barbie about the noise of the tortured priests in the Hotel Terminus cellars.
Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Clemence Poesy, Geza Rohrig, Bella Ramsey, Matthias Schweighofer and Ed Harris. Available to stream from Friday.
Running time 120 mins.
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