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Top Customer Reviews
The story opens with the Bielski brothers Tuvia (Craig) and Zus (Liev Schreiber) returning to the family farm to discover the Germans killed their parents. They find their younger brother, Asael (Jamie Bell) hiding from the slaughter in a cellar.
They decide to go to the forest to hide out. It's initially pure happenstance that they run into other refugees, but as the story progresses, they have a community from philosophers to warriors.
It's fascinating to see the community grow and the harsh realities of living under the Nazi radar. The images in this film will haunt me as strongly as the original newsreel "Let my People Go" did when I saw it in junior high.
In my opinion, "Defiance" is one of the top films of this year and I hope it earns the awards it deserves. The film is excellent for students of Jewish history, psychology, and community development. It's well worth full price in the theatre and adding to your collection.
Rebecca Kyle, February 2009
Fortunately, that myth is being exploded sixty years after the fact, and DEFIANCE, the story of the Bielski Partisans, is part of that process. The Bielski Partisans were led by the brothers Tuvia, Zus, Asael and Aron, Jews from White Russia (now Belarus), who took to the woods after their village was targeted by the Einsatzkommando "B", an SS killing corps.
Many Jews, in fact, fled to the woods, and Jewish Resistance arose in many places throughout Europe. The Bielski experience in the dense Naliboki Forest is paradigmatic. The Jews of city and town, often tradesmen, small business owners, or scholar/intellectuals, were generally ill-equipped for the rough life of forest-dwellers. In this regard, the Bielskis, whose father had been a countryman, were peculiarly suited to lead. Having grown up in and around the woods and with a familiarity with tools and weapons, they became not only protectors but teachers in the art of survival.
Tuvia (Daniel Craig) became the leader, quiet, intense, sincere, and often in a quandry both moral and practical. How does one lead men, and care for women and children in conditions of deprivation? How and when does a leader lead or let himself be guided? How does a leader, as an authority, assert that authority?Read more ›
By necessity, one must focus on the survivors if one wishes to create a workable film about the Holocaust. For its only through the eyes and ears of the survivors (and their tales of suffering) that we can appreciate the enormity, the scope of what occurred to the victims of the Holocaust. Paradoxically, the tales of the survivors are nothing more than anomalies--which may give the wrong impression to the uninformed that the Holocaust was an ennobling event--that these tales of survival were somehow the rule rather than the exception.
Defiance is one such anomalous tale. Some critics have likened it to a critique of Jewish passivity--that the overwhelming majority of Jews went to their deaths without putting up a fight. And certainly that reputation is reinforced in 'Defiance' as the protagonists, Tuvia and Zus Bielski, stand out as Jewish outsiders who aren't afraid to fight the Nazis as opposed to the majority of the Jewish 'intellectuals', mostly freshly minted refugees from the ghetto, who end up as part of the Bielski 'community' within the Byelorussian forest.
But there is an excellent scene in Defiance, where Tuvia sneaks into the ghetto and confronts the head of the Jewish committee there, that demonstrates that the average Jew was not passive--simply bewildered and overwhelmed. Can you really blame the head of the Jewish committee when he doesn't believe Tuvia's tales of genocide? He says, 'yes, we've heard these stories, but who can really believe them?' Reports of atrocities reached the United States during the War but they were not really appreciated until the actual newsreel photos of truckloads of emaciated bodies were seen being bulldozed into ditches at Bergen-Belsen after the war was over.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertaining. Didn't know about this group of resistance in WW2.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
one of the few films where the jew fight back the Nazis and win, one of
Daniel Craig's best performances
This is one of my favorite movies about WW2. It is technically excellent, a compelling true story and always pushes me to live a braver life. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ohio Book Lover
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