Film review: Defiance (2008), directed by Edward Zwick
While Inglorious Basterds was complete fiction (or close enough), Defiance is actually true. It follows four Jewish brothers, the Bielskis from Belarus, played by Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell and George MacKay.
The film begins with everyone at their home being taken by the Nazis, and those who resisted too much were killed. The youngest brother is hiding, the other three are away at the time, so that’s how they escape the carnage. Hiding in the woods, they soon come across other Jews on the run, and find themselves setting up a camp … and accruing more fugitives.
They have to suffer through harsh wilderness conditions, trying to stay alive with very little food, and more and more mouths to feed, while at the same time trying to keep out of sight of the Nazis.
Defiance is a compelling watch, with great performances from all of the cast. I thought I recognised Chaya, and indeed so – it’s Mia Wasikowska, to-be Tim Burton’s Alice and the next Jane Eyre! She’s a good actress, so perhaps she can make a good Jane after all.
It shows both the best and the worst of humankind. On the one hand, the care and compassion and love – and on the other, brutality, hatred and selfishness. I didn’t really know what the movie was about beforehand and hadn’t really heard of it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Well worth a watch. It sort of gives you hope that there’s good in humanity yet, no matter how much evidence of the contrary the media try to make us believe.
4.5 out of 5 campfires.