A Slow Paced, Tense Thriller
Based on a true story, Dutch Netflix Original The Resistance Banker is a slow-paced, suffocatingly tense film. Driven forward by a gritty realism and an authentic recreation of a Nazi occupied country, The Resistance Banker is an impressive film and one well worth checking out, even if its pacing lets it down from being a more engrossing film.
The story follows Walraven Van Hall (Barry Atsma), a banker who decides to finance the Dutch resistance against the Nazis during a crucial time in World War II. Helped by his brother Gijs van Hall (Jacob Derwig), the two set out to try to slow the German war machine by siphoning money out of the bank and into the hands of the resistance. Of course, things inevitably aren’t that simple and what follows is a methodically paced game of cat and mouse as the Resistance try to thwart the Nazis as they catch wind of what they’re doing, try to remain undetected while figuring out if any spies are in the midst.
While the plot itself is enjoyable, the film is crippled by a relentlessly slow pace that makes it difficult to get into early on, inevitably sucking some of the energy out these early scenes. Some patience is certainly required with this one given the pacing and at times the story does feel unnecessarily convoluted. It’s not enough to deter you away but it does take longer than necessary to become accustomed to the pacing and style of plotting here.
As you might expect from a film set in World War II, the colour palette remains muted and gritty, boasting some stylish editing late on as the plot increases in tension and shifts between Van Hall and his family in one of the more impressive shots of the film. The musical score works really well to accentuate the action too, used sparingly through this 2 hour film to really heighten the emotion felt during these moments.
With The Resistance Banker being a Dutch Netflix Original, it’s worth noting that the film is told entirely in Dutch although there is English Dubbing available for those less inclined to read subtitles for 2 hours. Unfortunately, this is truly woeful and at times distracting from the original dialect which is far more powerful and gripping in its depiction. The acting is generally very good though with each character haunted by a cloud of dread that’s conveyed through some well placed non-verbal cues and realistically depicted dialogue.
Overall, The Resistance Banker is a gripping thriller, one that tells its story with authenticity and respect but lacks some much-needed energy to make it a better film to coerce the average movie-goer into. While the film is certainly engrossing enough to keep you watching, a slow pace and an over-long opening hold it back from being a better title.