Courage of the Damned
By a customer
, 20 Oct 2007
If you are familiar with the events in Poland during World War II the opening fifteen to twenty minutes of this film will be somewhat trite and clichéd. Its all been done before, a score of times. However, stick with it. Once it moves beyond the need to set the scene for those who are visiting this subject for the first time the real action starts. As the Warsaw Ghetto steadily loses its Jews to Treblinka Concentration Camp, those left behind discover anyone forced to leave the City are being systematically murdered. This leads to the formation of an urban guerrilla force to both combat the German Army and prevent any more transportation. Uprising is the story of this defiance and the gambits employed by both sides to inflict the maximum damage on the other. After several weeks, it was to lead to a large part of Warsaw being entirely demolished. It is an extraordinary story of courage and caring and we learn at the conclusion just a handful of the freedom fighters survived and in doing so achieved so much more in their lifetimes.
Tom Sutherland tried hard but was not entirely convincing as a Jewish leader, but Jon Voight was chilling as the German officer determined to extract and kill every Jew in Warsaw or send them to a death camp. Amongst the rebels, its not possible to single out an individual performance, they were all convincing. At one juncture, a rebel says London should be told what is happening to the Jews and someone will go to Churchill to do this. Another asked would they be believed? A good question since the Jews in Warsaw thought it was a lie initially. Even Israel had no idea of the scope of the Final Solution in the early days. Many hundreds of postcards, possibly more, were sent by Palestinians, as they were then, to relatives in Europe and no-one received a reply. It never occurred to anyone the Third Reich had created the new industry of murder and a new crime in the modern era - genocide. A deafening silence proved nothing.
The rebellion in Warsaw has always been underplayed. Older people will recall asking why the Jews didnt retaliate, defend themselves? Why did they go peacefully to their deaths? Well the fact is they did fight back, but somehow not much attention was paid to it, until now. This redresses the balance in a well acted, gripping film which has no happy ending but shows human spirit and courage can survive in the worst of circumstances.
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