Non member Defiance Reviews

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advicky
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Non member Defiance Reviews

Post by advicky » Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:05 am

http://www.ny1.com/Content/ny1_living/9 ... fault.aspx

War drama 'Defiance' meets with resistance
By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
2.5/4

Despite its fascinating real-life origins, Defiance comes across more like an earnest history lesson than a compelling World War II drama.
The story of three Jewish brothers in 1941 Poland who escape the Nazis by taking refuge in the Belorussian forest is hampered by plodding solemnity, generic action sequences and cinematic clichés. Still, the cinematography by Eduardo Serra is evocative, and the main performances — particularly by Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber as clashing brothers — are strong.

Director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond) has made a movie that feels like something we've seen before — and not because there have been several Holocaust-themed films lately. He relies on convention and formula, which leaves the film feeling muted rather than gritty like Glory, another Zwick historical film.

Craig, Schreiber and Jamie Bell play the Bielski brothers, who join Russian resistance fighters during the Holocaust and protect themselves and others, creating a mini-civilization hidden among the thick trees. What emerges is a predictable action-adventure rather than a complex and intimate portrait of a group of courageous individuals fighting for their lives.

The larger struggle against the Nazis is undermined by a contest between Craig's Tuvia, who has renounced outright vengeance, and his hotheaded brother Zus (Schreiber). The youngest Bielski, Asael (Bell), is torn between the rivalry of his siblings. Each feels like a "type" rather than a fully drawn character, and we don't learn enough about the origins of their friction to draw us emotionally into their conflict.

The tale of the resistance movement in Belorussia is undeniably inspiring and ideally suited for a cinematic rendering. But Defiance resists bold, passionate storytelling and delivers something rather conventional.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/rev ... ance_N.htm


Tale Of 'Defiance' Among The Third Reich's Targets


One of the lazy cliches of too many Holocaust movies is that Europe's Jews were exterminated without offering any resistance. Historians know that there's evidence to the contrary — as Edward Zwick's new film Defiance demonstrates.

It's the story of the Bielski brothers, who kept 1,200 Jews alive in the forests of Belarus during World War II. The Bielskis were so contentious they not only fought the Germans, they fought each other.

The strongest part of Defiance, frankly, might be those fraternal conflicts. We meet the Bielskis, played by Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber, in 1941, when they discover that the invading Germans have killed their parents and have likely put a price on their own heads as well.

Zus Bielski, one of Schreiber's strongest film portrayals, is the wild hothead of the family. He's filled with a burning desire for "blood for blood" revenge, as well as smoldering class resentments against the Jews who looked down on the Bielskis until they needed their help.

His brother Tuvia, well-played by Craig, is capable of cold fury when it's called for, but he's more of a stoic than is Zus.

He also feels more of a responsibility than his furious sibling does to protect the helpless Jews who've escaped to the woods from urban ghettos.

Defiance, however, often departs from the harsher realities of this core story and traffics in earnestness and sentimentality. There's too much on-the-nose dialogue and wisecracking-through-tough-times talk.

It all feels like stuff we've heard before, and hearing it in the middle of a Belarus forest doesn't improve it enough. When it's being true to itself instead of generic — just as the Belskis were — is when this film's at its best.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=98849255

Review: 'Defiance'

A great story fights its way through thickets of Hollywood banter and sentimentality.

By Kenneth Turan FILM CRITIC

A Russian partisan commander looks dismissively at the Bielski brothers, eyeing tough Zus (Liev Schreiber) and tougher Tuvia (Daniel Craig) and proclaiming, "Jews don't fight." ¶ "These Jews do," comes the prompt reply, and "Defiance," the new film by Edward Zwick, is determined to prove that point. ¶ Though one of the standard clichés of the Holocaust is that Europe's Jews were exterminated without offering any resistance, historians have gradually uncovered evidence to the contrary, with the Bielskis being the prime case in point. ¶ Along with sibling Asael (Jamie Bell), the brothers not only formed a partisan unit that took on the Germans in the heavily wooded areas of what is now Belarus, they created a community in those woods that managed to keep 1,200 Jews alive until the war ended. ¶ Zwick, who wrote the screenplay with Clayton Frohman based on a book by Nechama Tec, has been trying to dramatize that story for at least a dozen years. As it appears on screen today, "Defiance" has some genuine strengths but also some weaker elements, and these opposing traits battle it out kind of the way the contentious Bielskis fought not only the Germans but each other.

The strongest part of "Defiance," frankly, might be those fraternal conflicts. Craig and Schreiber are two excellent actors, and both of them connect strongly with their roles as well as their fierce rivalry.

We meet all three brothers almost at the same moment in 1941, when they discover that the invading Germans have killed their parents and likely put a price on their own heads as well.

Passionately played by Schreiber in one of his strongest film roles, Zus is the wild hothead of the family, filled with a burning desire for "blood for blood" revenge as well as smoldering class resentments against the higher class Jews who looked down on the Bielskis until they needed their help.

His brother Tuvia, well-played by Craig, though capable of cold fury when it's called for, is much more of a stoic and closer to a natural commander than Zus. He also feels more of a responsibility than his furious sibling does to protect the helpless Jews who've escaped to the woods from urban ghettos.

Over the course of several projects, particularly the recent "Blood Diamond," Zwick has become quite proficient at crisply done action sequences, and the frequent fire fights and killings in "Defiance" have a powerful effect.

Whenever "Defiance" departs from the harsher realities of its story, however, when it leaves behind the particularity of its story and deals with the generic, it risks trafficking in the kind of earnestness and sentimentality it is better off without.

On the one hand, it is appropriate and likely true to life to give each of the Bielskis a beautiful "forest wife," the term used for the common law arrangements the war encouraged, and having fine actresses like Alexa Davalos, Mia Wasikowska and Iben Hjejle certainly helps.

On the other hand, the film has too much on-the-nose dialogue and wisecracking-through-tough-times sentiments, particularly in the dialogue between the religious Shimon Haretz (Allan Corduner) and the intellectual Isaac Malbin (Mark Feuerstein). It all feels like stuff we've heard before, and hearing it in the middle of a Belarus forest doesn't improve it enough.

But when "Defiance" returns to situations that could have come from no other film, it strengthens its hand. Being true to itself, just as the Bielskis were, is what this film does best.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/ne ... 3782.story


‘Defiance’ can’t decide what it wants to be

Rousing WWII action movie weighed down by Oscar-film pretensions

“Defiance” director Edward Zwick certainly isn’t afraid of archetypes: We know who the villain’s going to be (it’s the guy with the bad teeth), we know who’s going to marry the hero (it’s the one woman who looks stunning with apparently no makeup on) and we know who the hero is (it’s Daniel Craig as the movie’s one blond, blue-eyed Russian Jew).

It’s too bad that Zwick didn’t feel secure enough about what’s best about “Defiance” — the film’s action-packed scenes of armed resistance against Nazis fighting in Russia — and found himself trapped in another archetype, that of the serious, self-aware, Important Holocaust Drama.

Not that the horrors of the Final Solution don’t still resonate some 60 years after the end of World War II, but does every film on the topic have to be so crushingly earnest? For all its flaws — and there were a lot of them — didn’t “Life is Beautiful” open the door a little to alternate approaches to discussing this genocide on film?

Starting with a true story — which, in Hollywood terms, means that what you see on screen bears only fleeting resemblance to actual people and occurrences — “Defiance” tells the story of the Bielski brothers, who kept thousands of Jews alive in the woods of Belarussia while also getting into armed battles with the Nazi occupiers and even raiding their compounds.

Besides World War II itself, the other big conflict being fought out in “Defiance” is the difference of opinion between the brothers: Tuvia (Craig), the oldest, is more concerned with keeping their cadre alive, even though it means taking care of children and the elderly, while hot-headed second brother Zus (Liev Schreiber) wants to join up with the Red Army to kill more Germans.

The taut action sequences, the interplay between Craig and Schreiber and Jamie Bell (as younger brother Asael), and Zus’ prickly relationship with his comrades in the notoriously anti-Semitic Russian Army all crackle, and they point to what could have been an immensely satisfying, “Great Escape” kind of adventure.

But then there’s all the philosophizing and the breast-beating and the “God will save us!” stuff that’s been handled frequently and far more interestingly in any number of other Holocaust movies. In “Defiance,” it just feels tacked on, as though making “just” an action movie about Jews in this period of history were somehow glib or heretical

Nonetheless, “Defiance” is frequently engaging, from its stellar cast (Mark Feuerstein and the great Allan Corduner are a kick as a pair of bickering intellectuals) to its gripping suspense. It’s a shame that Zwick and his co-scenarist Clayton Frohman, adapting the book by Nechama Tec, seem — much like Asael in the film — to be torn between two rival agendas.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28437482/


Defiant, but Oddly Lacking

Review By David Kempler

2.5/4

For the past few months I have been seeing a trailer for "Defiance." It is possible that I have watched it more than ten times. With each viewing, I assumed that a very powerful Oscar contender was about to be unfurled upon the viewing public. I finally saw the actual film. It was a letdown. This does not mean it is a bad film. Far from it. But there is something missing that prevents it from being an extraordinary film. I'm not certain what is holding it back, although I have a few theories.

"Defiance" is based on a true story about four Jewish brothers from West Belarus in Poland who escape from the Nazis after their family is murdered. Instead of fleeing, they decide to fight back. Through fate, they also take on the role of protector to other Jews, rescuing over 1,200 from the ghettos in Poland. The film, directed by Edward Zwick ("Blood Diamond") is an adaptation of Nechama Tec's "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans." In the book, pacifist and non-militant Polish Jews come together and train for military duty in order to oppose the German and Russian occupation of their homeland.

Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) and his brother Zus (Liev Schreiber) are the two leaders of the movement. Tuvia is primarily concerned with hiding people in the woods and keeping them safe from invading German forces, while Zus is more inclined toward seeking revenge for his family's massacre, joining up with Russian freedom fighters. This causes a rift between the two Bielski brothers but it is a rift that is obviously repairable.

"Defiance" is a great story, mostly because it is true. Unfortunately, this filmed version of the events is lacking in oomph. It feels scripted, invoking an emotional reaction from its audience based on obvious cues rather than allowing reactions to flow naturally from the depicted events.

Craig does his usual fine job but Schreiber left me cold in his portrayal of Zus. To be fair, I am not a huge Schreiber fan, so there may be some prejudicial bias coloring my appraisal. But even if I can get past that, I can't get past that the film feels artificial, even though it is based on truth. I don't think the movie-going public will be all that disappointed with "Defiance" but I do think that my initial guess that this would be a huge Oscar contender was dead wrong.

http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/Defiance.shtml


Poor act of 'Defiance': Film fails to do justice to an important story
by Stephen Whitty/The Star-Ledger

Victims don't often star in their own histories.

Even when they've survived the most horrible oppressions, they don't write the first texts. It's the proud liberators who do that -- and sometimes, unwittingly, victimize them a second time. Because not every suffering minority was waiting, passively, to be saved. Often they've been fighting for themselves all along.

Like the Jews of "Defiance."

There have been many movies about the Holocaust -- half-a-dozen, it seems, in just the past two months. But this film, based on a true story, isn't about the ghetto but the forests. About the Jews who tore off their yellow stars and picked up guns, and made their own justice.

It's an unusual and important story. Which makes it even sadder that it's not better told.

Watching the movie you realize there's a precedent here, and a pretty ambitious one: "Spartacus." There's something of Kirk Douglas in the clenched physicality of Daniel Craig, particularly as he slowly builds his little community of outcasts in the woods -- even mildly mocking the useless intellectuals who join them.

The difference, though, is that "Spartacus" was written by a witty leftist, Dalton Trumbo, who really believed in its ideals of social revolution; it was directed by a genuine genius, Stanley Kubrick, who had both a soaring visual sense and just enough weary misanthropy to balance Trumbo's soaring inspiration.

And "Defiance" is co-written and directed by Edward Zwick.

Zwick is a pleasant man, and probably a decent one; he named his company Bedford Falls, after the sweet town of "It's a Wonderful Life," and his projects range from TV's "thirtysomething" to the Oscar-winning "Glory." But too many of his pictures are pat and politically predictable. Movies like "Blood Diamond" and "The Last Samurai" take all the "right" stands, but where's the pulse of drama? The shock of art?

"Defiance" has a sturdy, based-on-fact story, as three brothers, fleeing the Nazi liquidation of their village, take to the Byelorussian woods. Eventually they're joined by other refugees, some with guns, and a debate ensues: Should their priority be survival, or resistance? One brother opts for the first, building a sort of ever-traveling shtetl; the other chooses the second, joining up with a straggling Red Army squadron.

Craig and Liev Schreiber are the brothers, and although they're miscast -- they're the least likely fraternal pair since Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson in "The Darjeeling Limited" -- they're both fine actors. Yet Zwick's script (co-written with Clayton Frohman) seems, even if based on fact, to be too heavily contrived. The brother's disagreement over tactics seems more a function of the plot than philosophy, their reunion a just-in-time Hollywood ending.

The idea of refugees taking to the forest and living off the land (and wealthy landowners) has real old-movie appeal; it's like Robin Hood and his Merry Menschen. But Zwick's movie never moves behind those cliches. The villain among them has bad teeth while the women remain nicely groomed; Craig's wooden hovel, somehow, comes complete with glass windows (and fire-lit love scene). Supporting characters feel like kvetching outcasts from Anatevka.

For all his armchair humanism, Zwick has always had skill with action sequences; an early scene, when Craig goes to confront the men who killed his family, has a rough power to it, and a final battle against the German army is full of excitement. And the characters' proactive heroism is an important corrective (as, in its own way, was "Munich") to movies about victimized Jews, dependent on righteous gentiles. Many fought back themselves, and this is one of the stories.

It's just a shame it wasn't told in a faster, fresher and more surprising way.

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/tv/inde ... to_an.html



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Post by Germangirl » Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:51 am

These are what we have collected so far - mostly good ones, but that might be, because we posted only the good ones. I think the problem is, that always Zwick is bashed for bringing up emotional moments in a cineatic way, that most of the times goes well with the audience but not so much with the critics. Personally I rather have a little less autenticity in favour of at least some cheesy moments :wink: Last Samurai was full of that and I loved it :oops:

National Board of Review announces 2008 winners

Top Ten Films:
(In alphabetical order)
BURN AFTER READING
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
DEFIANCE
FROST/NIXON
GRAN TORINO
MILK
WALL-E
THE WRESTLER

Source

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/t ... ies-o.html

http://blog.oup.com/2008/12/defiance-2/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-r ... 50141.html

http://www.theskinny.co.uk/article/44588-defiance

http://www.observer.com/mobile/article/8

http://jewssip.com/4394/exclusive-defia ... ion-movie/

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111799 ... =3383&cs=1


http://yourplace.lucky-day-dot.com/new- ... niel-craig

http://www.journalexpress.net/opinion

http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists ... 81224.html

http://www.forward.com/articles/14732/w ... vie.co.uk/

http://www.news-press.com/article/20081 ... 1002/RSS01
Last edited by Germangirl on Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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advicky
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Post by advicky » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:45 am

Defiance
Brothers in arms fight Third Reich in 'Defiance'

3/5

The courage at the center of "Defiance" has to do not only with the truth of the movie's story, but also with how director Ed Zwick tells this tale of World War II heroism in as straightforward, old-fashioned a way as possible.

After their village, parents and family farm have been destroyed by the Germans in 1942 Belarus, Zus Bielski (Liev Schreiber) and his younger brother, Asael (Jamie Bell), escape into the woods they've played in since childhood. When their eldest sibling, Tuvia (Daniel Craig) shows up, the Bielskis make a camp and reluctantly take in fellow refugees.

As more join their number, the Bielskis train them to fight back against the Nazis. To maintain order, they institute commune-like living; to ensure mobility, they warn that no pregnancies are allowed between couples. The natural leadership of Tuvia is questioned, while Asael takes a "forest wife" and the "Bielski partisans" acquire more weapons, even as they scrounge for food.

Craig, far from James Bond but still swaggering, makes a leathery, craggy commander, and Schreiber - who'll show his full-on action chops this summer in the Hugh Jackman "Wolverine" movie - is tough but sullen. Yet all this old-style moviemaking doesn't always pay off: Bell becomes simply the sallow-eyed kid, basically serving as the movie's teary boy, the representative war orphan. And the other tired and hungry seem straight out of central casting.

And while "Defiance" generally holds up, the "underdogs save lives, build a ramshackle community" bit gets run into the ground long before the final battle. Still, the facts of their fight provide resonance.

Zwick ("Glory," "Blood Diamond") lets more strategy and action into the movie than syrupy emotion (it doesn't seem at all crazy that the partisans could take on a tank). Plus, you have to admire a film that, in a season full of Nazi flicks, is the only one to open with actual newsreel footage of Hitler. "Defiance" isn't afraid to stand apart.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainmen ... in_de.html

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Post by Daskedusken » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:09 am

thanks for the reviews.
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Post by Thelma » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:19 am

Thank you Advicky and GermanGirl for all the reviews :D

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Post by advicky » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:32 am

RESISTS NAZIS, NOT CLICHéS

2.5/4
By LOU LUMENICK

I really wanted to love "Defiance," which is based on the little-known but fascinating true story of the Bielski brothers, Jewish resistance fighters who created a refuge for 1,200 fleeing the Holocaust in the forests of Byelorussia.

It's got a solid cast and three or four powerful scenes, but in the uncertain hands of director Edward Zwick ("Blood Diamond"), this promising premise is turned into basically an overgrown TV movie.

There's mechanical plotting, war-movie clichés and pedestrian dialogue (credited to Zwick and Clayton Frohman).

Daniel Craig takes time out from James Bonding to play Tuvia, the oldest brother, who may or may not be a smuggler when his parents are murdered by the local police chief under orders from the Nazis.

Tuvia and his brothers - the hotheaded Zus (Liev Schreiber) and the much younger Asael (Jamie Bell) - extract swift revenge, but Tuvia balks at wholesale attack on the Nazis even as Zus amasses a cache of arms.

"Our revenge is to live," declares Tuvia as he and his brothers are followed by a growing number of refugees. They finally begin building a settlement in the woods.

One of the movie's big problems is that aside from the brothers, none of the characters are more than overly familiar archetypes.

Craig is effective as Tuvia, who is depicted as something of a World War II Moses, at one point leading his charges through a swamp after the Nazis discover their first hiding place.

Schreiber gives perhaps his most physical - and, in some ways, most impressive - screen performance to date as the vengeful Zus, but Bell ends up getting stuck in a romantic subplot.

"Defiance" plods where it should soar, but it's still the best of this month's four (!) Holocaust movies - if for no other reason than it confronts the common belief that European Jews didn't actively resist the Nazi onslaught.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/12312008/en ... 146663.htm

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Post by Germangirl » Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:35 am

From Thelma from the other thread

Must-See Movies of 2009

Defiance (Release Date: 01/16/09)
Director: Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber
Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber star in Defiance, the story of three brothers caught in the midst of World War II. With their lives threatened, they escape into the woods, where they get to work building a society to harbor other refugees, and to organize a resistance against the Nazis. This is not just another war movie, although it's sure to have plenty of action. This is a movie about survival and brotherhood, and an ordinary group of people pushed by extraordinary circumstances.

Bonus reason to watch: Witness firsthand Daniel Craig's ability to avoid being typecast as James Bond, which at this point has become pretty amazing. Case in point: Pierce Brosnan had to stoop as low as Mamma Mia! to try to wrangle a post-007 career.

http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php ... es_of_2009
The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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Post by JoniJoni » Wed Dec 31, 2008 4:18 pm


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Post by Faustine » Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:12 pm

why only good reviews???

What´s the problem in read all opinions?

I have read "conventional" too much, knowing to the critical language it means "one more movie on... "

I don´t trust in critics that I don´t know but share his distrust towards Zwick, The last samurai is so bad, well, I never turned to considering Zwick interesting after Legend of to fall in 1994.
We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone.

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Post by Germangirl » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:02 am

I think the reviews here are mixed by now. What comes in really. Like with all the Zwick films - some love it - some hate it. And that exactly shows in the reviews...What astonishes me most is this National Board of Review announces 2008 winners They put it in the 10 best films and they should know good when they see it. How the opinions can still be so divided? Guess the topic never is an easy one and people have very different views on that and how it should be executed.
The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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good reviews/

Post by Guinness » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:46 am

like i said before, why are there 7 movies out about the holocaust right now? and none are as "generic" as defiance...what? it was about surviving in the woods-when you didnt know how to-building a society because you wanted to survive. the plot is there, the acting is there, but they are not tom cruise or titanic graduates. aaaahhh i want to write movie critisicms on the critics...and do it for no money so i can write what i want. aaaaagg~g

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Re: good reviews/

Post by Germangirl » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:51 am

Guinness wrote:like i said before, why are there 7 movies out about the holocaust right now? and none are as "generic" as defiance...what? it was about surviving in the woods-when you didnt know how to-building a society because you wanted to survive. the plot is there, the acting is there, but they are not tom cruise or titanic graduates. aaaahhh i want to write movie critisicms on the critics...and do it for no money so i can write what i want. aaaaagg~g
I don´t think that has to do with it. Those are getting mixed reviews also and Daniel certainly almost got good to very good nods everywhere as does Liev. :D

Movie Review: 'Defiance'
By Joe Bendel Dec 31, 2008
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BROTHERHOOD: Daniel Craig plays Tuvia Bielski and Liev Schreiber is Zus Bielski in ‘Defiance.’ (Karen Ballard/ Paramount Vantage)
In a season with a surfeit of Holocaust-related films, it might be helpful to think of the latest film from director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai) as a motion picture of the partisan resistance instead. In addition to sounding different, it also happens to be a more accurate characterization of the film.
Chronicling the true story of the Bielski Otriad, a ragtag group of Jewish resistance fighters operating in the Naliboki Forest of Belarus, Defiance opens in New York this week, in advance of a national release in January.
The sibling rivalry between Tuvia and Zus Bielski runs so deep, even the murder of their family and parents cannot fully abate their strife. Seeking sanctuary with their youngest brother Asael in the woods of their youthful explorations, the two elder brothers have vastly different ideas on how to proceed.
Zus believes the brothers should look out for each other and extract their revenge on the occupying soldiers and town collaborators when the opportunities arise. Tuvia, however, refuses to turn away anyone seeking refuge at their camp.
Their differing temperaments lead to a temporary parting of ways for the brothers. Zus joins the nearest group of Soviet-dominated partisans, hoping to take the fight to the Germans, while Tuvia stays with the growing band of refugees, building a makeshift shelter in the forest.
Though the communist partisans were initially almost as great a threat to the Bielski Otriad as the National Socialists, an uneasy truce is forged. While Zus proves his fierceness in battle, he still experiences anti-Semitism from his ostensive comrades.
Meanwhile, at the Bielski Otriad, as the community grows, circumstances force a looser approach to relationships, with the development of so-called “forest wives.” Tuvia even makes a clandestine trip to the ghetto, offering an alternative to eventual deportation and certain death. Of course, this was no vacation.
In the short term, members of the Bielski Otriad face harsher conditions than those who remained, enduring disease, starvation, and freezing temperatures. However, with Tuvia Bielski there was hope, as the film makes dramatically clear in its finest moments.
Defiance is a bit of a hybrid, fusing elements of the action movie with the serious inspirational message film, yet it all works together reasonably well. Daniel Craig certainly comes in with credibility as an action figure and does not disappoint. His early revenge-taking scene (with a mere four bullets) actually ranks with 007’s first kill in Casino Royale. As Zus, Liev Schreiber is frankly a pleasant surprise—intense and completely believable as the action-oriented Bielski Brother.
Unfortunately, Zwick’s direction does not always serve the film as well as his actors. He lets the pacing get bogged down during the sequences of the extreme winter privations, and his final battle sequence often feels strangely limited in scope. Surely the German military could have spared more than one tank for the operation. He does deserve credit though, with co-screenwriter Clayton Frohman, for not whitewashing Soviet anti-Semitism.
There are no scenes of concentration camps in Defiance, but there is some payback for those killed by the National Socialists. Having reviewed seven Holocaust-related films already this holiday season (including new releases, POV, film festivals, and MoMA retrospectives), I almost found that cathartic.
Indeed, the film compares well with many of its recent thematic competitors. Defiance is a legitimately inspiring historical story convincingly recreated on-screen. It opens in New York at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Wednesday, with a national release on Jan. 16.
http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/content/view/9502/

Defiance
Brothers in arms fight Third Reich in 'Defiance'


Wednesday, December 31st 2008, 8:53 AM
Karen Ballard/Karen Ballard
Jamie Bell (l.) and Daniel Craig as two of the Bielski brothers who train others to battle the Nazis in 'Defiance.'
The courage at the center of "Defiance" has to do not only with the truth of the movie's story, but also with how director Ed Zwick tells this tale of World War II heroism in as straightforward, old-fashioned a way as possible.
After their village, parents and family farm have been destroyed by the Germans in 1942 Belarus, Zus Bielski (Liev Schreiber) and his younger brother, Asael (Jamie Bell), escape into the woods they've played in since childhood. When their eldest sibling, Tuvia (Daniel Craig) shows up, the Bielskis make a camp and reluctantly take in fellow refugees.
As more join their number, the Bielskis train them to fight back against the Nazis. To maintain order, they institute commune-like living; to ensure mobility, they warn that no pregnancies are allowed between couples. The natural leadership of Tuvia is questioned, while Asael takes a "forest wife" and the "Bielski partisans" acquire more weapons, even as they scrounge for food.
Craig, far from James Bond but still swaggering, makes a leathery, craggy commander, and Schreiber - who'll show his full-on action chops this summer in the Hugh Jackman "Wolverine" movie - is tough but sullen. Yet all this old-style moviemaking doesn't always pay off: Bell becomes simply the sallow-eyed kid, basically serving as the movie's teary boy, the representative war orphan. And the other tired and hungry seem straight out of central casting.
And while "Defiance" generally holds up, the "underdogs save lives, build a ramshackle community" bit gets run into the ground long before the final battle. Still, the facts of their fight provide resonance.
Zwick ("Glory," "Blood Diamond") lets more strategy and action into the movie than syrupy emotion (it doesn't seem at all crazy that the partisans could take on a tank). Plus, you have to admire a film that, in a season full of Nazi flicks, is the only one to open with actual newsreel footage of Hitler. "Defiance" isn't afraid to stand apart.
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainmen ... in_de.html
12/30/2008 11:25 PM

NY1 Movie Review: "Defiance"
By: Neil Rosen
Daniel Craig, who was last seen on the big screen in the latest James Bond film, takes on a very different kind of heroic role for his latest movie, "Defiance," which is based on an incredible true story.
In 1941, three Jewish brothers named Bielski barely escape eastern Europe as most of their relatives and friends are killed by the Nazis. The Bielskis retreat into the dense surrounding woods near their home and try and figure out what to do next.
At first, they are mainly on their own, but soon the brothers are joined by other Jewish refugees. As their forest community grows, their plan of resistance begins to come clearly into focus.
Tuvia, the oldest brother played by Craig, becomes the leader of the group, which grows to over 1,000 refugees. He goes on missions to the ghettos, rescuing Jews from the fate of the concentration camps, bringing them to safety in the woods.
The middle brother Zus, played by Liev Schreiber, chooses a different path and joins the Russian army to fight the Germans.
Meanwhile, the remaining group struggles with harsh elements of winter, a typhus epidemic, starvation and periodic attacks by the Nazis.
Director Ed Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay, occasionally falls into some conventional Hollywood moviemaking traps. He makes the characters a bit one-dimensional, does not adequately explain Tuvia and Zus' sibling rivalry and writes more poetic than realistic dialogue.
But these are minor quibbles. This amazing story is downright inspirational. Craig and Schreiber are terrific here and it's a pleasure to watch this steadfast group not allow themselves to become victims as they fight for their lives and take on the Nazis when they are attacked.
It's a powerful, uplifting story, made all the more remarkable because it actually happened.
http://www.ny1.com/Content/ny1_living/9 ... fault.aspx

Movie Review: Defiance December 31, 2008
Posted by judylobo in Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Politics, Religion, Videos.
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Movie Review: Defiance
Alternate Title: The Fabulous Bielski Boys
Story: I am my brother’s keeper, and my sister’s, neighbor and friend. This uplifting true story of survival by director Edward Zwick tells a tale of bravery and determination against insurmountable odds. It is refreshing to see a film about WWII where the Jews are not solely helpless victims. This film answers some of those questions about whether any Jews fought back. Yes, they did.
In a screenplay by Edward Zwick and Clay Frohman (Source Material - Nechama Tec) we meet the Bielski Brothers in 1941, Belarus. They were ordinary farmers, and it is inferred, smugglers, who rose to extraordinary human heights by spending over three years in the forests evading the Nazi army. They took in everyone they could find, fed them, protected them, taught them how to survive and by the end of their struggle when they left the forest, there were over 1200 of them.
The story is heartfelt, well choreographed, if at times, too predictable. While the film is flawed, the underlying idea of triumph over adversity will lift your spirits and worth your time.
Watch this video about Jewish Partisans. During World War II, 20,000-30,000 Jewish resistance fighters — partisans - escaped ghettos and fought against the Germans and their collaborators.
Acting: I would follow Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski into any forest anytime, anywhere. Daniel Craig is on my top five list and can do no wrong. Liev Schreiber as Zus Bielski has a good meaty part as the conflicted brother.Jamie Bell as Asael Bielski is growing up to be a fine actor. Little Aron Bielski, played by George Mackay was sweet. The fine supporting cast was stellar al around.
Trivia: Director Ed Zwick went to Harvard and has directed 4 actors in Oscar nominated roles; Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, and Denzel Washington. Denzel won his Oscar. Daniel Craig has also played a Jew in Munich and Fateless. Jamie Bell was chosen out of 2000 boys to play “Billy Elliot.” Liev Schreiber grew up in Lower East Side New York. Graduated from Friends Seminary High School in Manhattan. He attended London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hampshire College and graduated from Yale.
Predilection: I like Daniel Craig
Critters: Lots of livestock and a horse and a dog that become part of the ‘food’ category below.
Food: The above horse and dog, potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes.
Sex Spectrum: Sex is supposed to be forbidden because they did not want any babies - but guess what? Sex happens.
Soundtrack: Soaring
Opening Titles: A grainy, file footage background showing you the location, date and events leading up to the story. Be sure to stick around to see the ‘what happened to them’ photos before the credits.
Visual Art: There are some beautiful photo essays of the woods. Sadly the nightmares that took place in these woods ruins all that beauty.
Theater Audience: Saw it in the Ziegfield Theater on opening day, first show. It had many people but the theater is so big it looked empty.
Weather: Winters in Belarus are tough. Brrrrrr. FYI - my family left that area and came to the US many years ago.
Drift Factor: It definitely needed some editing.
Predictability Level: I was not sure how those fabulous brothers were going to be at the end of the film.
Tissue Usage: 0
Oscar Worthy: No - although the music was beautiful.
Big Screen or Rental: Big screen. For some other films by director Ed Zwick you can rent: Blood Diamond, The Siege, The Last Samurai, I am Sam, Legends of the Fall, Leaving Normal, Courage Under Fire, Glory and About Last Night.
Length: A bit overt two hours.
LOBO HOWLS: 7.5
http://judylobo.wordpress.com/2008/12/3 ... -defiance/
The top notch acting in the Weisz/Craig/Spall 'Betrayal' is emotionally true, often v funny and its beautifully staged with filmic qualities..

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calypso
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Location: Knitting willy warmers for Daniel's pickle!

Post by calypso » Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:59 pm

http://blogs.nypost.com/movies/archives ... h_nev.html

Oscar Watch: Never Again
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Talk about going out with a whimper. Today in The Post, the last two movie reviews of 2008 are Holocaust dramas receiving contractually-mandated Oscar qualifications runs in New York (technically, they need to open only in Los Angeles). I give 2.5 stars to "Defiance'' starring Daniel Craig, which will likely struggle to fill the 1,131-seat Ziegfeld, and Kyle Smith awards 2 stars to "Good'' with Viggo Mortensen, which is opening at the Village East -- probably not in the 1,200-seat main auditorium. Hopefully, four Holocaust dramas will never again open during a single month. And that's not even counting "Valkyrie.''
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Guinness
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thx

Post by Guinness » Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:39 pm

GG- tooshay, thank you for your knowledge and the reviews posted. awesome information. i still think that if defiance was the only Holocaust OR war movie out this season, critics and many others would consider it a Great movie with Great actors. Instead its being compared with other actors/directors/screenwriters etc...without the critics even knowing that they are doing it!!! thank you for letting me post my opinions. and learning about others!!

Cal-love the postwebsite-i posted my opinion on that too. idiots, but 1/2 correct. i am biased when it comes to "our" man!!! and i will continue to "stick up" for him in any forum. loyal junkie i am!!!!!!! ~G

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Mariah
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Location: US

Post by Mariah » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:32 pm

Guys, I think we have to remember that film critics have to be picky and harsh in their reviews. It's their job. They can't just say "oh this movie sucked" or "this movie was awesome!" They have to look at every detail.

We aren't obligated to agree with the critics.
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that most of us enjoy all of Daniel's movies so I'm sure we'll enjoy Defiance!
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"I have no armour left. You've stripped it from me. Whatever is left of me - whatever is left of me - whatever I am - I'm yours."

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