May 21, 2011

Defiance - 2008

Director: Edward Zwick
Writers: Clayton Frohman & Edward Zwick
Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell

"Merciful God, we commit our friends to You. We have no more prayers, no more tears; we have run out of blood. Choose another people. We have paid for each of Your commandments; we have covered every stone and field with ashes. Sanctify another land. Choose another people. Teach them the deeds and the prophesies. Grant us but one more blessing: take back the gift of our holiness. Amen." The true story of Tuvia (Craig) and Zus Bielski (Schrieber), two brothers who lead a Jewish resistance group against the Nazis while hiding in the woods of eastern Europe.

Oh, Ed Zwick. You just had to go and make Love and Other Drugs last year, didn't you? You used to BE somebody. You were know for your "sprawling war epics" like Glory and The Last Samurai...was Defiance your swansong? I can't deny that it was a great film. Your two leads did a great job, from the accents to the action and everything in between. A great chemistry between all the brothers, in general. Got a little confused at times about who was and wasn't dead, since you didn't really linger on it, and living characters would sometimes be absent for a few scenes after some big moment, and then pop back up unharmed. Also, I never would have made your stylistic choices for the medicine/communication raid scene, and I don't know how far away Zus and his crew could be from the wedding so that the party couldn't hear the gunshots. You also threw in subtitled foreign dialogue just enough to be annoying to me, instead of either being all subtitled or all accented English. All in all, though, it's a Holocaust movie that's more hopeful than depressing, which is a feat in and of itself, and you touched on something that's always been on my mind about the Holocaust: how a group of people could hold onto their faith through a horrible event like that. And maybe, come back to your roots? The soldiers miss you, Ed. A-


  1. Well put sir.

    Suuuch a good movie, and I agree with your frustration over Zwick's most recent choice. I'm constantly conflicted between the idea of "progressing" beyond one's usual to avoid staleness, and sticking to what you know best. Hopefully, for our sake, he'll get back to 'Defiance'-like pictures.

  2. Agreed! I liked this movie a lot!