“Defiance” What History Class Skipped Over

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Adaptation and War

Running Time: 2 hrs. 17 min.

Release Date: December 31st, 2008 (limited)

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language.

Distributors: Paramount Vantage

Directed by: Edward Zwick


JJ Rating: B+


Four Jewish brothers fall into the role as heroes to several hundred Jews, who they protect for the tail end of WWII from the Nazis. It is based on true events. Defiance.


Acting was mainly accent for most of the actors. I think that Dainel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell did a good job. But the one that stood out the most to me was Jamie Bell. He had a couple of scenes where he played opposite Craig and it was his body language that gave the lines. It was very controlled and emotional with a twist of channeling reality. He was more of the actor who became the character than an actor playing a character.


Story wise it had historical backing which makes it more tolerable, because of time, than if it were fiction. They defied the Nazis as well as anyone who stood up with them. They were unintentional heroes, these four brothers. What they mean to do was save their own skin, but then the youngest brought in some Jews to protect and it escalated into a small town. They had a functional city going on there. They even had someone that though he deserved more just for, one assumed, putting in more work.


This story is similar to the Bible book of Exodus when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They were slaves and were beaten for not working too fast, but they spend a little time in the wilderness and they complain and they want to leave the protection they have to go back to being slaves stating for it was better then. They had forgotten the troubles they had because they were now having still having troubles instead of the incorrect idea of a perfect time. The same happens in this movie. The Jews complain about how their living conditions are but when they are told to go back if they want to they have second thoughts. Ungrateful people exist all over the world and they are not limited to just one group of people. It’s sad that someone expends so much energy to protect you and all you have to give back is complaining.


In “Survivor” people wallow in self pity because they don’t have someone to lead them and then when someone does they complain because they are being bossy. There is no even ground. Same in Defiance, the Jews were saved but they had to be a leader. So when Tuvia (Daniel Craig) steps up to do that they accept it for a while and then they question it later. They want the protection of someone who can do it and when they get it he’s not perfect enough to handle the many stressors of the job. The good thing is that most appreciate it far more than their complaining showed.


The problem is that Defiance was just a little too long. Clocking in over 2 hours means there has to be some slow moments and moments that were totally unnecessary. Just take the parts of the story that are interesting and put them in the movie. How difficult is that? There’s nothing spectacular about the way the story was told. It was just straight out told. The main thing that makes it a good movie is that it’s a story not many know about.


Just like Valkyrie, Defiance is fascinating because it is a story that has gone untold to the masses. Our history classes don’t tell us about the attempts to stop Hitler by the German people nor do they tell us about the Jews that fought back. It’s almost as if they want to create history instead of telling us about it. If you see Defiance you will mostly do it for a bit of history lesson instead of a fantastically done movie.

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