Sunday, September 19, 2010

DVD Review: DEFIANCE(2008)

The great film DEFIANCE was actually from 2008, however a large number of retailers are now displaying it in counter area impulse DVD displays after the price has been lowered to under $10 by the manufacturer. And for less than $10 DEFIANCE is really a great film.

British actor Daniel Craig is actually much better than his James Bond role here playing Jewish brother Tuvia Bielski who with his brother, Zus Bielski(Liev Schreiber) form an anti-Nazi force of Bielski partisan fighters in Belarus during the war. The Bielski brothers manage to protect hundreds of Jewish civilians from the Nazis, who had just rounded up and killed as many as 50,000 in the area by the early part of the war. The Bielski partisans have an uneasy relationship with some Soviet partisan fighters whose soldiers dislike Jews. But since they have a common enemy in the Germans, the two groups manage an uneasy truce to combat the Germans. It's a very compelling story of survival of Jews during the war that deserves a place on the shelf with SCHINDLER'S LIST and other great films.

In Poland the film was however controversial, where critics of Bielski brothers claimed that they were little more than Communist bandits who robbed and terrorized some civilians during the war. However, with survival at stake, and hundreds of mouths to feed of civilian women and children, the Bielski partisans had to resort to extreme means for survival. After the war, the real Bielski brothers emigrated to the U.S. and started a successful trucking company.

DEFIANCE may take more than a few liberties with the real life story of the Bielski brothers and their partisan fighter force. But the fact of the matter is that thousands of descendants have been born because of their efforts to save pockets of Jews from extinction in their Belarus area of Eastern Europe.

Sadly this very good film cost $50 million to produce, but only brought in box revenues of $55.4 million. However, low priced DVD sales should help somewhat as wise film buyers will recognize this as a quality film to add to their library of films. Daniel Craig is also quite convincing here as the Belarus fighter leader. He is sometimes an imperfect leader, but is far more wise and less brutish than his brother. And he's good enough that he is able to rescue a large group of civilians from the sure death of the Nazis.

The Bottom Line: A very good, but not quite excellent film that is a proud addition to your WWII DVD film library. A very compelling film more than worth spending $10 on. +++(Good. Three stars out of four).