Last night, Joker's Joaquin Phoenix won an Oscar for playing a tortured maniac once best known for making fun of his own boners -- proving again that Adam Sandler was robbed by not even getting a nomination for Uncut Gems. This is now the second time that the clown prince of crime has bagged someone a statue for Best Performance. That makes it official: playing suicidal jesters counts as Oscar bait. And already riding those comically oversized coattails is the trailer for Resistance, the upcoming prestige war drama about a French mime who breathes fire on Nazis.
While you've probably never heard of him (which is the whole point), Marcel Marceau was the ur-French mime, the guy you still picture in your head when you hear those words -- baguette and all. But Resistance, starring Jesse Eisenberg in loose period clothing and an even looser French accent, focuses on Marceau's early life when he perfected his pantomime fighting in the French Resistance. A surprisingly true story, during World War II a young Marceau quietly snuck hundreds of Jewish orphans out of Nazi-occupied France and into neutral Switzerland, keeping the kids calm with his carefree clowning. Even more unlikely, the teenage mime (Teenage Mime, great pitch for a CW series) also became a communications liaison in Patton's Third Army and captured a German unit of soldiers by himself using only his pantomime skills of deception. We assume by pretending a strong gust of wind was about to blow their guns out of their hands while trapping them in an invisible box.
And in 2020, a movie where an Academy Award-nominated actor plays a daredevil clown in a film that's also equal parts The Artist, La Vita e Bella, Schindler's List and that unreleased Holocaust movie where Jerry Lewis performs circus tricks for kids on their way to the gas chamber sure seems like it's already miming holding its Oscar in the mirror. Which makes it even more suspicious that Resistance is quietly being released in March, also known as the "we made a big mistake" release period for studio movies. Maybe they realized a little bit too late that making a clown movie about fighting fascists, freeing minority children from imprisonment, and having a black freedom fighter literally say "welcome to the Resistance" may not get an equal amount of love from the hordes of online jabronis defending the Joker as their great white hope.
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