Ed Zwick's WW2 flick DEFIANCE starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell and Liev Schreiber screens!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a couple of reviews from a recent test screening of Edward Zwick's DEFIANCE. The film screened in Colorado and we had not one, but two spies in the audience, both dug it and both end up calling it "a great movie."
I'll let the spies explain themselves! Enjoy and beware of spoilers!
Hey Harry. Last night I saw a test screening for Defiance in Westminster, Colorado. Defiance is the true story of three Jewish brothers who hide a community of Jews in the Belarussian forest during WWII. It stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell as the three brothers. It was directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Blood Diamond).
There, now that we have the basics out of the way let's get to what was good and bad...
-Zwick does a marvelous job with the pacing and style of the movie. The timing is appropriate, giving the viewer enough action, while still making time to portray the truly abysmal conditions that these people lived in. There is one scene in particular, which has members of the forest camp celebrating a wedding in a snow storm cross cut with the rebel fighters ambushing a Nazi convoy.
-Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber give great performances as men who are thrust into leading all of these people. They are believable as brothers who have a long history and their struggle with what they must do is amazing to watch. The power struggle between the two of them, with Schreiber as the younger brother who must accept his older brother's position of authority, is perfect sibling rivalry, but taken to a level that is so much more. The fear they feel hiding in the forest, the rage they have at the murder of their loved ones, the responsibility of protecting, and feeding, all of these people in the forest, grates on these men, and leads to an inevitable break, with Schreiber running off to fight with the Russian army.
-The story: Seeing how it is based on a true story, who knows how much really happened, but if half of what these poor people had to live through was true, then it truly is an amazing tale. The constant hunting by the Nazis, the survival through the harsh winters, escapes, ambushes, Russians, and tanks. It is thoroughly engrossing, and quite entertaining.
-For some reason, filmmakers feel the need to cram romantic interests into every possible place in films. I was alright with Craig's and Bell's love interests in the film, especially after the epilogue confirmed that they actually met and married the women they fall in love with in the film. But Schreiber's love interest feels forced, and very awkward. Here is a man who has just lost his wife and daughter, and not two scenes later, is groping some woman. It does not forward the plot, it does not forward either character, it is simply fluff. And it's unnecessary.
-The climax: Most of the climactic battle sequence is great. There is actually one point where I wondered, "Can't these people catch a flipping break?", and not in the way that it was unbelievable what was happening. It was just that they were in a horrible situation. But then something very disappointing happens. It turns all Hollywood on us. In a very deus ex machina sort of move, the estranged brother returns at the last possible moment, when all hope is lost, to save his brother, and a happy family reunion ensues. That said, I don't know if this is actually how the events went down, but it seemed a little set up, for how hard the rest of the movie had been for those living in the forest.
The Verdict: This is a great movie. Parts of it reminded me of The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The performances by the lead characters is strong and believable, the direction is powerful and guided, and the story is well told and incredible. An amazing film overall.
This second one is shorter, but slightly more enthusiastic!
So, Somebody came up to me on the street in Westminster, Colorado and dropped some tickets on me to see a new movie starring Daniel Craig. I thought he completely kicked ass in the last James Bond flick and I'm counting down the days for the next one. Anyway, this movie was called, "Defiance," and I kinda groaned inside when I realized it was about WWII – not that I've got anything against serious movies but I usually think these kind of things are better off on The History Channel.
Well, I was wrong. This movie rocked me with all the right elements for me to claim it as a wonderful piece of work. It's the story of these three Jewish brothers who escape into the woods when the Nazis come into Poland. At first they only want to save their own ass but then they start fighting back and end up saving thousands of others. Three times in the movie I felt choked up and got pretty embarrassed, but then I looked over and saw my girlfriend was crying too. So that's a score for me...
The important thing about this film? It's all TRUE! I definitely believe that this is different from the usual Holocaust films because it shares a gripping story about the other side of the horror that I don't think we really knew much about. Daniel Craig is totally different in this than Casino Royale. He's still major bad ass, though. Jamie Bell is in it, too, and he's even better in this than he was in Jumper. Need I say much about Liev? He's a true force in this. Also, there is some incredibly hot girl whose name I don't know...
At the end the whole audience was cheering and clapping. No shit. I don't know how this one doesn't end up nominated for lots of Oscars. We shall see!