I have been reminded by my loyal reader that I am overdue for a review of “Defiance.” This tale of Russian Jews evading capture during WWII is well told and well acted. I was not familiar with the story of the Bielski Partisans who escaped to the forest for over two years in German occupied Poland. For a based on a true story, the tale is remarkably vivid and has an excellent screenplay.
The movie starts out with death and destruction on the Belarus countryside. Daniel Craig does an excellent job with the role of Tuvia and the anguish of lost loved ones and frustration in the quest for revenge is evident. This frustration causes a rift among the Bielski brothers as well as the Partisans whose ranks swell to over 1200, including the elderly, women and children.
The struggle for survival seems somewhat glossed over at times. However I believe this film is more a testament to the human spirit rather than another take on the horror of the Holocaust. As such there are pleasant scenes in which people do develop relationships and contribute their unique skills to the survival of the whole.
While the movie is violent, I would still have to recommend it as a must view for most audiences. It is a gripping drama with an excellent cast. While the characters’ accents often fall apart, that is a pretty minor quip for an otherwise epic story.