Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Defiance Poster
Originally uploaded by AsceticMonk
The Oscar nominations are coming out tomorrow and though at one time I wanted Defiance to be on the list of nominees now that I have seen it I can safely say that the only nominations I truly would enjoy Defiance receiving are for Daniel Craig & Liev Schreiber. Not that Defiance is a bad movie, but in a year that had movies like Iron Man, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight & In Bruges a movie like Defiance has its flaws pointed out instead of ignored.

What is truly remarkable is the story of Defiance; it is about a group of Jews at the outbreak of Hitler’s Germany and genocide that manage to evade capture by the Nazi’s by creating a settlement in the forests of Belarussia. It begins with four brothers and near the end of the war has grown to over 1,200 Jewish refugees. There story is awe inspiring, perhaps only equal to the likes of Oskar Schindler.

What is wrong with Defiance is the fact that parts of the story seem to be missing – it is as if the director trusted his audience to put two & two together too often, or that there were merely scenes still on the editing room floor waiting to be inserted into the film. A prim example of this is the romance between Tuvia & Lilka; she comes to the otriad, throws Tuvia a few meaningful looks and suddenly an ancillary character informs Tuvia that everyone knows that Lilka is hands-off. While not a killing point to the film, the leaps in story telling that occur do make Defiance slightly less than it could have been.

Defiance is an entertaining movie, but not a great one. I do believe that perhaps the film might have been helped if it was released in summer instead of Oscar season, but perhaps I can hold out hope for Craig or Schreiber getting an Oscar nomination.

Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Clayton Frohman & Edward Zwick
Tuvia Beilski: Daniel Craig
Zus Bielski: Liev Schreiber
Asael Bielski: Jamie Bell
Aron Bielski: George MacKay
Lilka Ticktin: Alexa Davalos

Gramov: How come it's so f---ing hard to like Jews?
Tuvia Bielski: Try being one.

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