"RESISTANCE MOVEMENT," written and directed by Kathryn Lee Moss; produced by Nathan D. Lee; starring Joseph Paul Branca, Caleb Jenson and Dashiell Wolf: screened at the 2013 LDS Film Festival at the SCERA Center for the Arts; not rated, 94 minutes
OREM — "Resistance Movement" is told in an unusual way with lots of black lighting and Spartan set pieces.
It's more of a stage play on film than a traditional movie, but it's very powerful and moving.
The true story of the resistance put up by the youngest known resistance cell of World War II, which consisted of Helmuth Hubener (Caleb Jenson), Karl-Heinz Schnibbe (Dashiell Wolf) and Rudi Wobbe (Joseph Paul Branca), is basically a simple story of blind faith and reckless courage.
Three teenagers who discover the Nazi regime is lying to the German people and decide to fight to get out the truth swiftly get in over their heads. These three early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pay a high price for trying to do the right thing.
They're unprepared for the brutality and rigidity of the Nazi soldiers who soon come to accost them for their actions, which is basically listening to BBC radio broadcasts and sharing what they hear with others.
Hubener copies down what they learn from the shortwave radio and types up flyers to distribute to others. He recruits Wobbe and Schnibbe to help.
They even post some of the bright red flyers on the Nazi bulletin boards. The Gestapo see it as treason.
The teens' testimonies are at various levels, and when they're tested, they waver some. They have to call on a God they can't see or hear, and it gets rough.
But tender mercies along the way get them through even though it isn't swiftly apparent.
Mercifully for the audience, the beatings and torture are mostly implied and thus not unbearable to watch, though it's still haunting.
Hubener, 16 at the time, is the ringleader. Wobbe is the idealist, and at 15, really thinks he and his friends can change the world. The older Schnibbe, all of 17, is afraid, willing to go along with the dangerous schemes suggested by his friends, but more realistic and thus more fearful.
He, more than the others, seems to understand the chance they are taking.
Wobbe's mother plays a typical German homemaker, aware that something's up but unable to stop it. Portrayed by Jennifer Finlayson Williams, she starts out a little stiffly but warms into the part.
Heinrich, played by Dennis Purdie, is sincere in his faith but shaken in body and spirit after he's taken and "re-educated" by torture.
Others in the cast include tough guy Gestapo soldiers, a sympathetic prison cellmate for Wobbe, and four tribunal judges who look down from their lofty perches on the mere mortal and pass swift by unfair judgment — rather like Q from "Star Trek."
There's no serious attempt to make the boys look like they've been in prison for six months. Their teeth are clean and unbroken. Their faces are unscathed. Their clothes are crisp and tidy.
Given that the whole movie is shot almost in silhouette, those details don't detract from the story, which is well-told and riveting. The audience feels the risk these young men are taking and very quickly comes to care about what happens.
Here's a thought-provoking movie that ought to be shown in history and religion classes followed by serious discussion on what it means to stand for truth and righteousness.
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