Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Defiance”

(Paramount Vantage. 2 hours, 17 minutes. Rated R for violence and language. Directed by Edward Zwick.) Daniel Craig (Tuvia Bielski), Liev Schreiber (Zus Bielski), Jamie Bell (Asael Bielski). Music by James Newton Howard.

Based on Nechama Tec’s book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, this film follows the Bielski brothers of Belarus, a trio who, after escaping death at the hands of the Nazis, hide in the forest and eventually build the largest Jewish resistance force of World War II. With the impending threat of Nazi invasion, the main conflict is between the brothers themselves: the idealistic, peace-minded Tuvia (Craig); the fierce, revenge-driven Zus (Schreiber); and the young Asael (Bell), who wishes to keep them together. From the sun-dappled forest clearings to the fog-enshrouded mountains, Defiance is visually stunning, sporting a very high level of detail in the environments and the costuming. The pacing is quick and tight, shifting smoothly from the day-to-day dramas of survival to the gripping, well-choreographed battle scenes (of which there are fewer than the commercials would have you believe). The performances are good all-around, but Schreiber dominates his scenes with a fire we don’t often see from him. Craig, though a little hard to believe as a Jew at first, makes a compelling transition from idealist to pragmatic leader. On the downside, a few scenes veer dangerously close to hokiness, and the ending, while a relief, seems just a little too convenient. Overall, it presents an engaging, inspiring narrative about an often-overlooked group who decided that it was better to resist than maintain.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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