"Compelling True Story"
DEFIANCE is the true story of three Jewish brothers who escape from Nazi-occupied Poland into the Belarussian forest where they join Russian fighters and build a community to protect other refugees. The Bielski brothers flee for their own lives when they discover that the Nazis slaughtered their parents. There, they meet fellow Jews who have also fled. Zus Bielski leads the brothers in becoming a raiding party to kill and loot those who helped the Germans. However, Tuvia Bielski puts an end to the vigilante revenge and instead begins to lead the people into building a small village in the forest. Anxious to fight, Zus abandons his brother and joins the Russian army.
Tuvia continues to rescue refugee Jews until the community numbers in the hundreds. Despite illness, a bitterly harsh winter and internal strife, the community continues to thrive and ultimately leads over 1,200 people to safety after the war.
This remarkable story of courage is well made and well acted, especially by Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber as the two main brothers. While the story relies much on plot, the movie has a profound emotional depth as the characters endure continual hardship.
DEFIANCE does drag a bit, however, and could have been trimmed to keep the pace more active. The underscore is compelling.
DEFIANCE has a message of faith with a strong biblical worldview. The community stops seeking revenge and instead decides that to live free from the Nazis is itself an act of faith. The Jewish community at times loses their focus on God. At a funeral one character prays, “God, choose another people.” However, the professor who becomes the village rabbi says in the end that he almost lost his faith in God when they fled to the forest, but he now knows that Tuvia was sent by God to save them.
There is a mix of some humanist elements. As the community flees from the Germans they must wade through waist high water, and they comment that God isn’t going to part the water like he did for Moses, so they have to do it themselves.
As the community is built, the people celebrate a marriage and a baby being born. They learn to set aside differences and work together.
Being a movie set in a war, there is much violence, though the violence is not overly gory or glorified. Many are killed on screen in battle and in close up skirmishes. There is foul language and a scene of implied sexual relations by an unmarried couple.
With caution for children and other sensitive viewers, DEFIANCE is an emotional, moving true story of faith and courage in the midst of trying circumstances.
(BBB, H, LL, VVV, S, N, AA, M) Very strong moral, biblical worldview of doing good and not seeking revenge, praying to God in Jewish context, and belief in God, plus a humanist line that God is not likely to part a body of water for the good guys like he did for Moses so they have to do things for themselves; 21 obscenities and no profanities; much war violence, many characters shot in fighting, five characters shot close up, bombing, fist fight, man hung, man beaten by mob; implied sexual relations and woman puts man’s hand on her chest over sweater; upper male nudity, nude couple together but covered up; much drinking of alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, anti-Semitic statements by Nazis and Russian soldiers and revenge rebuked.
Set during World War II, DEFIANCE is the true story of three Jewish brothers who flee from Nazis into the Belarussian forest, where they build a community to protect other refugees. Zus Bielski leads the brothers to kill and loot those helping the Germans. His brother Tuvia, however, puts an end to the vigilante revenge and leads the people into building a small village in the forest. Tuvia continues to rescue refugee Jews until the community numbers in the hundreds. Despite illness, a bitterly harsh winter and internal strife, they rescue over 1,200 people by the war’s end.
This remarkable story of courage is well made and well acted, especially by Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber as the two main brothers. The story has a profound emotional depth as the characters endure continual hardship. DEFIANCE also has a message of faith with a very strong moral worldview. A character says that he almost lost his faith in God when they fled to the forest but he now knows that Tuvia was sent by God to save them. The movie’s wartime violence, brief foul language and implied sexual content require caution.