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May 25, 2009 | by  | in Film | [ssba]



Yet another war movie, yet another point of view; but this one is a keeper. Defiance is an all-rounder—your dad will probably love it, your guy mates will love the action and your girl mates will love the eye candy. Jamie Bell has certainly outgrown his Billy Elliot years and Daniel Craig is on fire as Tuvia Bielski. For once this is not predictable—I had no idea how this movie would turn out, which was refreshing.

This true story follows the Jewish Bielski brothers Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Schreiber) and Asael (Bell) and their efforts to save a group of Jews from the Nazi Germany invasion of Poland and Belarus. How they do this is the interesting part; the majority of the film is within a Belarusian forest. The group of Jews, led by these brothers, form a forest commune in order to escape being sent to the dreaded work camps or ghettos. Everybody comes together to create a forest society for themselves, with handmade shelters, food gatherers and rations—it’s like their own private ghetto. It’s an inspirational story, along the lines of Schindler’s List, showing the lengths people will go through to save the Jews.

In some ways, it felt as if this good deed was not as heroic as it was played out to be; it began with the three brothers hiding in the woods from a raid in their village, fighting among each other as to what to do next. The brothers believed in a fight for survival for themselves a top priority. When other Jews who were also hiding attached themselves to their group, it seemed like they had to let them stay. Safety in numbers, right? They weren’t exactly hospitable initially, but their intentions eventually changed and they realised how important it was for everyone to stick together and be strong. I have to note the accents in this film; with quite a few English or American actors cast, the voices were absolutely brilliant. They genuinely resembled the smooth Polish accent which matched that of the native speakers among the cast.

It had its laugh-out-loud moments, which is good in a film of such heaviness. Zus (Schrieber) is moody and anti-helping-people-out, the ‘intellectual’ and the cute old man had a witty relationship going on, discussing politics and matters which brought the film back into its context of life before the war. Despite its potential over idealisation of the actual motives behind this good deed, it’s a film which shows the importance of brotherhood, family, sticking together and standing up for what you believe in. Not to mention the horrors of war, once again.

Remember guys, “nothing is impossible”.

Directed by Edward Zwick
Written by Clayton Frohman and Edward Zwick
With Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos


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