Thursday, December 10, 2009

Defiance

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for World War II movies, which is probably one reason I had so much fun writing the books in the Last Good War series a few years ago. DEFIANCE is definitely a World War II movie, but a bit different than most. It’s about a group of Belorussian Jews who take to the woods and hide when the Nazis come in and take over in 1939. A couple of brothers (played by Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber) who are former smugglers put their criminal background to good use as they become the leaders of the group and turn it into a resistance unit to fight the Germans.

DEFIANCE is based on a true story (though I have no idea how historically accurate it really is) and is an old-fashioned and very good film. There’s a lot of action that’s staged and shot so that you can tell what’s going on, and there are also well-developed characters, a compelling story, and a very satisfying ending. I didn’t even come close to nodding off, which is a rarity for me when I watch a movie. Now, it is almost unrelentingly grim, which you’d expect from the subject matter, but there are a few small touches of humor here and there, as well as the occasional stand-up-and-cheer moment. Craig and Schrieber are good as the leads, but really the whole cast is excellent. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but turns out it’s a fine film, one of the best I’ve seen recently. Highly recommended
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8 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for reminding me to put this on netflix.

Laurie said...

Ditto for me, James. I wanted to see it when it first came out. Thanks for the reminder.

Matthew P. Mayo said...

Me, too. My brother recommended it to me a while back and I promptly forgot about it. Not again!

Cheers,
Matt

Evan Lewis said...

I still don't buy Daniel Craig as James Bond, but thought he did a great job in Defiance. This was that rare film that was actually better than the blurbs on the DVD box made it sound.

David Cranmer said...

Daniel Craig is the real deal. He reminds me a lot of Steve McQueen with the intensity he delivers.

bish8 said...

I usually agree with your review, but we must have seen different films where Defiance is concerned. I found it ponderous and preachy -- every line of dialogue was a statement heavy with meaning, so any pretense of realistic conversations disappeared.

I really wanted to like this film, so perhaps my expectations were too high. For me, however, it was one of the biggest disappointments of 2008.

Richard Prosch said...

Thanks for the review --I'd been wondering, but this put it over the top. I agree with David, Craig often channels Steve McQueen --not a bad thing at all.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The plot sounds a bit like RED DAWN, but I'm eager to see it anyway.