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Review: Defiance

Jan. 16, 2009by: Chris Bumbray

Plot: This is the true story of the four Bielski Brothers, who escape their Nazi-occupied hometown to seek refuge in the Belarusian forest. While hiding from the Nazis, the brothers eventually formed a union with the Soviet Partisans, and organized the rescue of roughly 1,200 Jews from the local ghetto. They eventually constructed a makeshift village where they hoped they could wait out the war, all the while staying one step ahead of the Nazis.

Review: Im amazed that it took Hollywood this long to make a film about the Bielski brothers. Considering their incredible deeds, one would have thought the brothers would have been immortalized years ago, but for some reason, their story has never been told- until now.

In the hands of Edward Zwick, who seems to specialize in these large scale historical adventure films (GLORY, THE LAST SAMURAI, THE BLOOD DIAMOND), DEFIANCE is a top notch war film, boasting a few really solid performances from Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, & Jamie Bell, who play the three elder Bielski brothers.


I think DEFIANCE will go a long way towards proving Daniel Craigs versatility outside of the James Bond franchise, as I never had any trouble accepting him as a Jewish partisan as opposed to a sauve British superspy. While I hope he sticks with Bond for at least a few more films, I think hell one day follow in Sean Connerys footsteps as one of the few actors to successfully escape the typecasting that comes along with that iconic role. Craigs work as the eldest, and most even tempered brother is a bit surprising, as I would have assumed he would have gotten cast as the bad ass middle brother, Zus, but instead that role goes to Schreiber.

In many ways, Schreiber has the more complex role, as he seems less interested in saving lives than slaughtering Nazis, as opposed to his nobler and traditionally heroic kin. To me, Schreiber always seemed like an actor in the Dustin Hoffman mold, but here he proves that hes just as adept at playing the action hero as Craig is, and I cant wait to see how he turns out as Sabertooth is this summers WOLVERINE.


I also really liked Jamie Bell, as the younger, more inexperienced brother. Its nice to see Bell finally appear in a good movie, as hes been in a number of stinkers over the last few years (Peter Jacksons KING KONG, JUMPER), but to his credit, even when the movie was bad, he was always good.

Probably my only beef with DEFIANCE is the over the top musical score by James Newton Howard, whos usually one of my favorite composers, but here delivers your typical War movie score, meaning that its alternately too bombastic, melodramatic, or both. Still, this is a relatively small problem, and the score was never bad enough to interfere with my enjoyment of the film.

While its probably a little too traditional to win any Oscars, DEFIANCE is nonetheless a very well made, dynamic slice of World War II history, and well worth watching. I highly recommend it.

Grade: 8.5/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:10AM on 03/17/2009

Boring as hell.

A bunch of Jews bickering in the forest. Showing they can be just as barbaric as any one else. Also, this movie had quite a crappy story. Good acting but that's as far as it goes. Little to no action scenes.
The end is even laughable. His brother leading the assault on a tank with a MP40. lol STOP SAYING IT'S A TRUE STORY IF YOUR NOT GOING TO BE ACCURATE ABOUT EVERYTHING. "Based on a true story."
A bunch of Jews bickering in the forest. Showing they can be just as barbaric as any one else. Also, this movie had quite a crappy story. Good acting but that's as far as it goes. Little to no action scenes.
The end is even laughable. His brother leading the assault on a tank with a MP40. lol STOP SAYING IT'S A TRUE STORY IF YOUR NOT GOING TO BE ACCURATE ABOUT EVERYTHING. "Based on a true story."
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12:37AM on 01/17/2009

the Kong love continues...

My big problem with Kong is that at times it's bloody brilliant, and if it ran about an hour shorter and had a different actor playing Carl Denham (like Liev Schreiber or Danny Huston), it probably would have been top notch. I probably shouldn't have lumped it with JUMPER though- it's far better than that film.
My big problem with Kong is that at times it's bloody brilliant, and if it ran about an hour shorter and had a different actor playing Carl Denham (like Liev Schreiber or Danny Huston), it probably would have been top notch. I probably shouldn't have lumped it with JUMPER though- it's far better than that film.
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10:42PM on 01/16/2009

Kong a Stinker?

Took me right out of the review, like stamping out a cigarette butt.
Took me right out of the review, like stamping out a cigarette butt.
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8:43PM on 01/16/2009
Peter Jackson's King Kong a stinker? Uhh...no.

Good review though, I agree that Jamie Bell has great potential.
Peter Jackson's King Kong a stinker? Uhh...no.

Good review though, I agree that Jamie Bell has great potential.
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5:40PM on 01/16/2009

Ouch

Looks like I hit a nerve with my dissing of KING KONG. Ok- I'll admit I probably shouldn't have compared it to Jumper, but I really did not like Jackson's KONG. It had it's good points, but it was incredibly self indulgent. Also- I'm a massive fan of the 33 original, and if you compare the films, Jackson's really doesn't hold up.Jackson is a great filmmaker though, and I can't wait to see what he does with THE LOVELY BONES.
Looks like I hit a nerve with my dissing of KING KONG. Ok- I'll admit I probably shouldn't have compared it to Jumper, but I really did not like Jackson's KONG. It had it's good points, but it was incredibly self indulgent. Also- I'm a massive fan of the 33 original, and if you compare the films, Jackson's really doesn't hold up.Jackson is a great filmmaker though, and I can't wait to see what he does with THE LOVELY BONES.
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2:29PM on 01/16/2009
I liked Defiance.
But I too think your analysis of King Kong "is fucking retarded". That movie was excellent.

I liked Defiance.
But I too think your analysis of King Kong "is fucking retarded". That movie was excellent.

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1:40PM on 01/16/2009
agreed. Comparing King Kong to Jumper is fucking retarded.
agreed. Comparing King Kong to Jumper is fucking retarded.
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1:27PM on 01/16/2009
How is King Kong a bad movie? That is no where near bad like Jumpers is.
How is King Kong a bad movie? That is no where near bad like Jumpers is.
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