Movie Reviews – Defiance

DefianceBased (pretty loosely from what I understand) on a true story, this film documents the struggles of the Bielski family and the community that gathered around them during the German invasion of Belarussia in WW2. And mightily hard those struggles are – against the better equipped and professional German army, against the unforgiving and brutal elements, against the prejudice of the Russian partisans, against the fear and terror of the nearby farmers, against competing philosophies on community within the group, against family, against each other…say what you will about the Bielski family – they don’t quit when the going gets tough.

Daniel Craig is outstanding as the leader of the impoverished refugees, giving us a powerful and determined Tuvia Bielksi, with just a hint of the emotional fragility that gave the Bond franchise a fresh angle to work with. I’m no linguistics expert, but he also gets points for a fairly solid Belarussian accent throughout and even breaks into the occasional line of Russian to keep everybody on their toes. Liev Schreiber is brooding and ruthless as Tuvia’s younger, rage filled brother Zus, and follows his performance as Sabre-Tooth in the Wolverine: Origins movie with another solid effort here. The scenes featuring the growing divide between the two brothers over the direction their resistance should take are among the best in the film.

Every day of living is an act of defiance, says Craig’s character at one point, and he is right, but there is another kind of defiance as well; the armed kind, and it is on this aspect of the struggle that much of the film is based. If Hollywood has had a tendency in recent years to focus on the horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people in the concentration camps, this film views the fight from a different perspective. The defiance this film explores is not just spiritual or emotional, but also of the more traditional militant variety, and for mine, it made for an interesting change of pace.

There’s enough explosions, fighting and other general mayhem to keep the actions fans amused throughout the generous 137 minute length, but don’t confuse this with a typical action flick. There is an air of bleakness that pervades the entire movie; the bleakness of the scenario, of their surroundings, of the constant struggle to feed themselves, and retain their spark of humanity – and a grim realism that adds gravity and depth to the hopelessness of their situation.

The only complaint I had about the movie was with the two middle aged jack-asses who sat in front of me; a woman who asked questions incessantly throughout the entire film, which were in turn answered by a man who seemed to believe that talking loudly in as deep a baritone as he could muster was somehow equivalent to whispering. Can’t blame the movie for that though, and all things considered, it was a flick well worth seeing.

Rating; 7.5/10

Random Quote; Nothing is impossible, what we all have done is impossible!

Random actor you’ll recognize from somewhere else;  Iben Hjelje who played Laura in High Fidelity (2000) plays Bella, one of the leading women in the refugee camp.

Previous Movie Review – Star Trek


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3 Responses to “Movie Reviews – Defiance”

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    […] Blog Just another weblog « Questions – Is Nic Cage a zombie? Movie Review – Defiance […]

  2. The Podium – Top Three Movie Going Jack-Asses « Cinestuff Says:

    […] Cinematic reviews, rants and ramblings « Is Nic Cage a zombie? Reviews – Defiance […]

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