Defiance

Defiance

(2008)

Based on amazing actual events during World War II, Defiance tells the tale of a group of Jewish freedom fighters led by the Bielski brothers - Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Asael (Jamie Bell). They band together with Russian soldiers to oppose Nazi forces in 1941 by striking back and creating an alternative community for refugees, hidden in the forest. From the director of Blood Diamond.

Flicks Review

Bold, brash, and - most importantly - genuinely a good movie, it's a tale of rural Jews fighting their oppressors. Farmers in this movie act like farmers. Their natural ruggedness is retained and, even in the face of the greatest of atrocities, they never forget their working-class sense of humour.

The three talented stars play their roles with typical fervour. Their combined work elevates the film, as the handling of all other second-tier characters is fairly boring. Predictable stereotypes are rolled out, including bad accents and 'the Russian that drinks too much vodka'.

Director Edward Zwick was handed a real visual challenge in the story's location. Put simply, it's hard to make a bunch of trees and home-made huts look interesting for two hours. Zwick works well within this obvious constraint and there's a commendable energy in the way he stages his action sequences.

Defiance has a lot going for it, but it's not perfect. At its best, scenes rollick along, aided by a fresh story and great male leads. At its worst, you'll groan at a few unavoidable cliches and bland art direction. That's not enough to stop this film from being recommendable though, it's well worth a look if you like your war films loud and uplifting.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 7 ratings, 7 reviews
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2's

Enjoyable but not exceptional movie. They could have done more with the original story which is exceptional.

The film rolls like two connected stories - a before and after - and the main storyline does in fact split into two parallel lines at about the same point.

The performances of the two leads, Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig, are the better for their contrasting styles.

The movie seems to have two moral strands: family first; and being a bad-mannered brute will get you shot.


Once you get over the fact that Daniel Craig is not James Bond or and English Drug runner, this is an excellent movie. I thouroughly enjoy movies that inspire, entertain and educate you, and this one does all three. (remember it is Hollywood so dont take it as a literal history lesson)


BY Neddy wannabe

It might not be perfect, but it certainly has a lot going for it, informative, historically, captivating and emotional.
Go to it.


I loved this movie as it provided a unique insight into the ultimate victims of WW2, how they thought, their hardships, and extreme prejudice. But this film also told a tale of triumph, and expressed how if people think in a positive way (i.e. "we will die trying to live, that is what is human..."), they can make the most out of a horrendous situation and resisting against what is morally and ethically wrong. The film was put together very well with a limited set- by pushing the story along, it... More didn't seem to matter that almost the whole film was set in the forest.

The music finishes it off by playing with your emotions and drawing you into the situation, and believing how they must have felt.
THis is definately best on the big screen. See it while you can.Hide


Gah, mashed the keyboard by accident and it went through.

continued -

that the community had built than with the Nazi's. I liked the moral dilemma between Tuvia (Craig), who just wanted to take enough food from the surrounding villages to survive and Zus (Schrieber) who was hungry for blood and revenge over the death of his family and friends.

Def recommended.


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The Press Reviews

  • The best performance, because it's more nuanced, is by Liev Schreiber. His Zus Bielski is more concerned with the big picture, more ideological, more driven by tactics. Full Review

  • An amazing true tale is somewhat diminished by second-hand storytelling: entirely admirable, largely entertaining, and yet curiously hollow. Full Review

  • That butting of heads, as performed by actors as strong and soulful as Craig and Schreiber, lends Defiance an emotional charge, even as the film itself struggles dramatically to find its way out of those woods. Full Review

  • Defiance has some genuine strengths but also some weaker elements, and these opposing traits battle it out kind of the way the contentious Bielskis fought not only the Germans but each other. Full Review

  • Defiance presents itself as an explicit correction of the cultural record, a counterpoint to all those lachrymose World War II tales of helplessness and victimhood. This is a perfectly honorable intention, but the problem is that, in setting out to overturn historical stereotypes of Jewish passivity, Mr. Zwick (who co-wrote the screenplay with Clayton Frohman) ends up affirming them. Full Review

  • “Jews don’t fight!” mutters a Red Army soldier. “These Jews do!” says another admiringly. Great pitch, largely undone by stilted, solemn direction. Full Review

  • At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I say again, a tighter edit with half an hour less in the cinema, and this film would have been a far more memorable one. Full Review