Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell
Director: Edward Zwick
Running Time: 137 mins
Defiance is an American film about the true story of four Jewish brothers who go into hiding in the forests of Belarus from the Nazis, and after encountering numerous other Jews in the same situation, take charge of a large Jewish community that grows and grows during World War Two.
Basically, whilst the story of this film is historically interesting, I found everything in this movie pretty dry. One of the main elements of the story is the emotion, the sense of loss, the loss of the will to go on, and the loss of humanity in the face of this inhumane military machine, however it never worked on me, meaning that this felt like 2 and a bit hours of p-people walking around in the woods, without any real sense of drama to it.
Also, the performances in this film are surprisingly weak. Daniel Craig was the only man who managed to get something out of his character, showing that the man was flawed, but a hero nonetheless, and the moments in which you saw that were actually interesting and dramatic, however the rest of the film just didn’t have that feeling.
One of the biggest problem with the performances was the accents the actors were putting on. I didn’t mind the Belorussian accents at first, however seeing as the actors occasionally waded in and out of them really annoyed me, and just took me totally out of the moment, ruining any potential for some emotion.
However, there is nothing that irritated me more in this film than the language. Although most of it is spoken in English with the accents, the film often decides to randomly erupt into speaking in other languages, such as Belorussian, Polish, Russian, and it just makes the English bits feel even more forced; all they should have done was pick one and it would have been best.
Of course, I was not a fan of this film majorly because of the lack of emotion, particularly seeing as that is one of the movie’s main atmospheres, and that’s what has made me feel like this is just a bit of an Oscar-bait movie. It’s a very simply-done, normal-looking and rather unadventurous film, but as it’s centred on the Jewish exodus during WWII, and has the intention to be emotional and brutal (which never really comes across in the film), it seems like nothing more than a film simply to please the Academy, which I really didn’t like.
Overall, this gets a 5.9, because it was a very dry, boring and unemotional look at what should have been a fascinating and brutal story about the concept of humanity and loss.