Defiance- A film review

If you want to be entertained or unwound then “Defiance” is not for you, but it is a terrific way to celebrate the anniversary of the cowardly suicide of Hitler on the 30th April.

This film will make you angry and will have you on the edge of your seat with excitement and rage. It tells the true story of three Jewish brothers who survived the Holocaust and managed to save 1200 Jews by hiding from the Russians and the Nazis in the forest of Belarus for several years during World War II.

I saw a documentary about the Bielski Brothers several years ago and I was agog at their courage–defiance for sure. They managed to organise successful attacks against the Nazis and their Russian collaborators.

“Defiance ” was directed by Edward Zwick of “Blood Diamond” and “The Last Samurai” fame and stars Daniel Craig (OO7) as Tuvia Bielski in a very demanding role. As usual, Craig does not disappoint. The casting of Liev Schreiber as Zus Bielski, the more violent brother, is an excellent choice as is Jamie Bell as Asael Bielski.

The action is fast and redolent with satisfying retribution against the Nazis and their mates. In that way, it’s a feelgood movie.

I do believe, however, that had Steven Spielberg directed the film he would have done a better job of the production as the action was somewhat over the top and the many characters in the film were one dimensional. Perhaps the script could have been tighter.

As a tribute to the Bielskis, two of whom managed to have a normal life in New York after the war, it’s excellent, but I don’t think that it has great box office potential for the general public. If you like lots of gunfights and explosions, then perhaps it will be worth seeing. But I would have preferred more character development in the minor characters and a few quieter moments to brake the fast action.

For those who have an interest in World War II and the Holocaust, it is a must-see movie. The most difficult thing about viewing such a film is that at the end of it, one finds it hard to walk out into the street and see normal life going on. The contrast is quite a shock to the system!


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