Monday, June 8, 2009


I love a good war movie. Heck, I usually like a bad war movie. Especially when it's about World War II. It is such a fascinating part of our history. Almost the ENTIRE planet was at war. How crazy is that?

Defiance is a war story that is a true story about a not-so-glamorous part of the war. The movie is set in Eastern Poland in the woods. There, the Bielski Brothers have fled their village after a German invasion and while roaming in the woods happen upon a group of wandering Jews who had fled the Nazis. Note that I separate Nazis and Germans. They were 2 distinct groups. The Germans were the soldiers. The Nazis worked for the political party and for the most part are the ones that ran the concentration camps and the Jew extermination policy. One could be a part of both groups, but being a German did not make one a Nazi, just as an American in the army is not necessarily a Democrat.

Defiance stars Daniel Craig (James Bond in both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) as Tuvia Bielski and Lieve Schreiber (The Manchurian Candidate and RKO 281) as Zus Bielski, 2 brothers. While both men acted with fake Russian\Polish accents, Liev Schriber actually made a good Polish Jew, whereas Daniel Craig makes a good Brit speaking in a Polish accent who probably doesn't go to church as often as his mother would like.

Once the first few families of Jews were found, Tuvia decides that they must protect them. Over time, the refugees number in the thousands. Zus, on the other hand, wants to be a fighter rather than a protector and leaves to join a Russian detachment. Meanwhile, Tuvia, the now default leader of the refugee, finds himself fighting not only a war, but partisan bickering and struggles for gathering food, protecting the people, and trying to remain unseen by the occasional German observation planes.

Almost the entire movie is set in the woods of present-day Belarus, though filming was actually done in nearby Lithuania. Another notable fact is that many of the cast were relatives of surviving refugees, which number in the tens of thousands.

Defiance was directed by Edward Zwick, no stranger to directing big films, also known for Glory, Legends of the Fall, The Last Samurai, and Blood Diamond.

The movie states that it is 2 hours and 17 minutes long, though my DVD player was able to knock it out in 2 hours and 5 minutes. Perhaps I have an aggressive DVD player. Defiance is rated R for violence, mostly for violent gun battles and exploding bombs, and language.

Though an interesting story, the acting was a bit melancholy and dialog was slow. After watching the movie, I read about the true story and found it to be fascinating. However, I will have to give the movie 3 stars. I think it could have been a little better.

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