Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
On the run and hiding in the deep forests of the then German-occupied Poland and Belorussia (World War II), the four Bielski brothers find the impossible task of foraging for food and weapons for their survival. They live, not only with the fear of discovery, contending with neighboring Soviet partisans and knowing whom to trust but also take the responsibility of looking after a large mass of fleeing Polish Jews from the German war machine. Women, men, children, the elderly and the young alike are all hiding in makeshift homes in the dark, cold and unforgiving forests in the darkest times of German-occupied Eastern Europe. Written by
The object the Bielskis take from their house is a mezuzah, a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case). A mezuzah is affixed to the door-frame of Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of the Shema "on the door-posts of your house". The parchment is inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses comprise the Jewish prayer "Shema Yisrael", beginning with the phrase: "Listen, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." See more »
Half the movie takes place in the winter, oftentimes snowing, yet not in one scene do the actors show their breath, nor do the hot soups show any steam. See more »
James Bond and Oscar winning director Ed Zwick take on the Nazis.
Saw a preview screening of DEFIANCE last week in Woodland Hills. Daniel Craig stars as Tuvia Bielski in the true WWII story of three Jewish brothers who hid in the Belorussian forests and built a community of partisan fighters, saving over 1200 Jews by war's end.
Liev Schreiber (Zus Bielski) and Jamie Bell (Asael Bielski) star alongside Craig as his two younger brothers. Both Craig and Schreiber give powerhouse performances as the older brothers competing for leadership, and Jamie Bell, who most recently starred in the abysmal Jumper, gives a surprisingly great performance as well.
Zwick has created one of the most beautiful and thought provoking films of his career and definitely one of the most Oscar worthy movies to hit cinemas in years. War and destruction has never been so captivating and moving. There have been dozens of war movies in recent years but none have left me caring so much or feeling so attached to the characters. My eyeballs wouldn't break from the screen for the full 120 mins, and by the film's end, I wasn't ready to stop watching. I can't wait for the release (which appears to be some time this winter) in order to see it again.
It's a superb film with a nice balance of heavy hitting action and intense drama, but if that's not enough to make you want to see it, just the fact that these on screen heroes existed in real life definitely make it worth the watch.
This is a WWII movie that doesn't hide or glamorize war but shows the intense reality of what happens when people band together against overwhelming evil and survive.
A solid 8.5/10
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