Today’s Drive-By Movie Review is on the 2008 movie Defiance, starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber…
Plot Summary: Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belorussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and over a thousand Jewish non-combatants.
Me: Well, Honeybee, this is the fifth installment of the Drive-By Movie feature here at Len Penzo dot Com. What do you think of it so far?
The Honeybee: Eh. Passable, I guess, for a couple of amateurs.
Me: That’s not what I’d call a ringing endorsement.
The Honeybee: No kidding.
Me: Right. Anyway, this week’s feature is Defiance. It’s a movie that is set during the opening phases of World War II and stars Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. You know, when I found out during dinner that this was the movie you decided to get for us, I was less than thrilled.
The Honeybee: When I selected it, I actually thought Defiance was going to be another Daniel Craig, shoot ‘em up, 007, James Bond type action movie. I had no idea that this was going to be a period piece based upon a true story.
Me: Well, it was both actually. Don’t ya think? And I gotta tell ya, it didn’t take long for this film to change my attitude. In a nutshell, Craig and Schreiber play Tuvia and Zus Bielski, Jewish brothers whose village gets “sanitized” by the Germans and their Belorussian collaborators. In the process their families are killed and they are forced into the forest, where they have to try and survive against very long odds.
The Honeybee: I really liked the fact that these brothers, despite their disagreements, stuck together and stayed strong despite their incredible hardships.
Me: Me too. On the surface, with the Nazis hot on their trail and nowhere to run, it appears these guys don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades of survival. But instead of folding, and in an act of total defiance, Tuvia and Zus begin to boldly organize nightly raids, gathering arms and food along the way. They do pretty well too, getting enough arms and food to support and protect their crude forest community of refugees.
The Honeybee: Hmmm. “Well” is a relative term when you consider the hardships they were enduring.
Me: True, true. Anyway, just when things were looking up, and with winter setting in, the two get into a bitter dispute over whether to take in more refugees, and decide to go their separate ways.
The Honeybee: That’s when the story really kicks into gear, as the refugees are soon after forced to confront the Nazis head-on.
Me: Boy, does it! I won’t spoil the ending, but the fact that this movie is based on a true story makes what follows all the more incredible.
The Honeybee: I think Daniel Craig and Leiv Schreiber both did some terrific acting in this movie, and I really liked the interplay and tension between both actors; Schreiber playing the less empathetic of the two brothers – very similar to his role as Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine – without the claws, of course.
Me: Clever. And on that note, we need to wrap things up. What’s your recommendation…is Defiance a “Buy” or “Sell?”
The Honeybee: “Buy.” I don’t regret renting this one at all.
Me: Once again, I have to agree with you. I say Defiance is a solid “Buy” that won’t disappoint.
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