Quickcard Review Defiance
Directed by: Edward Zwick Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell Running Time: 2 hrs 15 mins Rating: R
Plot: Based on a true story ... In 1941, a Jew named Tuvia Bielski (Craig) and his two brothers escape the Germans in Poland and survive in the Belorussian forest. Their numbers continue to grow as they attempt to figure out how to survive.
Who’s It For? Yet another World War II story that has not been told. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm just amazing at the endless vault of tales that can be told. And if you looked at the poster (Craig in a forest, holding a gun), no you are not about to see another Bond flick. He's capable of more.
At the very beginning of the film, there is black and white footage, showing the Nazis taking over Poland. It misses a beat. They should have taken a note from Van Sant's Milk. Use real footage and don't try to recreate footage. Everything with Defiance just feels a little off. It's a shocking tale of survival, and luckily at the end they give us a "where are they now" moment, but the journey didn't grab me.
Tuvia and Zus (Schreiber) fight like brothers, but they don't really stop. You would think the war would make them concentrate on other things, but ego gets in the way. Tuvia's ego is the one we are left focusing on the majority of the film. It's an odd mix of accidentally being in charge and demanding to be in charge. I never felt like I understood Tuvia. And when Zus goes away, that's the story I wanted to experience.
There is one moment, where Tuvia and Zus go to a German station to steal medical supplies. Zus has some guilt, and Tuvia has a cough. Somehow, Tuvia stays in the car, and Zus goes in and gets all shot up. I wasn't even sure if he survived for a while. It's these little missteps that add up to something that doesn't feel quite right. And just like the winter in the movie, the film feels long. The story is amazing, but in the hands of Zwick the film never felt that way.
Final Score: 5/10