only we'd had Bond...
posted in slightly different form by Jamie Kelwick at his
own site -- www.the-usher.com.)
Edward Zwick is no stranger to telling stories from history.
Critical, commercial and award winning hits like 'The Last
Samurai' and 'Glory' show that he is a director who can
give the right amount of credence to powerful subjects.
He can also raise awareness of real world situations, as
in 'Blood Diamond', and mix history with drama in 'The Siege'
and 'Courage Under Fire' and 'Legends of the Fall' but for
this story he highlights real bravery against an unrelenting
in 1941 Belarus, the story of the Bielski brothers is probably
one that very few people know about but it is a story that
needs to be told. When the local Belarus police under the
instruction of the German SS kill their parents, the four
Bielski brothers head for the Belarussian forest to evade
other Jewish families also saw the woods as a possible hiding
place so they are not sent to the ghettos, camps or just
murdered by the invading Nazis and the elder Bielski's Tuvia
and Zus take these people into their care. As word spreads
of a Jewish safe haven in the forest, more and more people
head to the camp but with this comes the problem of feeding,
providing shelter and raised attention from the pursuing
Nazi forces. The fact that they always had these problems
and threats made this story of survival one that is filled
with emotion, conflict and the triumph of the human spirit.
the three older brothers was always going to be paramount
to the film's success and Edward Zwick has managed to draw
in some real talent, even though they don't look like they
could be related. Daniel Craig continues to choose interesting
projects when he is not the world's most famous secret agent
and as Tuvia Bielski he has been given a character that
has been thrown into a command and responsibility situation
and it is one that he really has to step into. For the most
part he does, excelling in the action and confrontation
scenes but when it comes to normal interactions, he struggles
Schreiber plays Zus, the other older brother who really
needs revenge for the death of his family and joining the
Russian partisan fighters is his way of finding vengeance.
This is a good role for the actor and one that shows he
can do action sequences as well as anyone.
Bell plays the younger brother Asael, who has to grow up
extremely fast and deal with the situation, as well as the
possibility of finding love. The final brother, Aron, is
played by young actor George MacKay, who doesn't really
have a lot to do in the film.
problem is that none of these actors look like they could
be related but they do act well together. The supporting
cast is also good with Tomas Arana, Alexa Davalos and Mark
Feuerstein standing out.
you can argue that character development was needed to make
you emotionally attach to the people involved, their situation
already achieves this, meaning that Edward Zwick and his
creative team could have shaved a few minutes off the 137
minute running time. This aside, 'Defiance' is still a fascinating
movie to watch and is a story of bravery and courage that
needed to be told.