Edge

Film Review: ‘Defiance’

In the hilarious and underrated television show “Extras,” Kate Winslet says, “If you do a film about the Holocaust, you’re guaranteed an Oscar.” Unfortunately, “Defiance” never quite reaches the brilliance of films like “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist,” and thus its obvious quest for Academy Award glory will remain unfulfilled.

Though it is one of the first of its kind — a Holocaust action thriller — this incredible but true film lacks the pathos of its predecessors and does not do its subject matter justice. For one of the first times in cinematic history, palpable Jewish resistance against the Nazis is celebrated. In reality, the heroes of the film saved over 1,200 Jews, an incredible feat about which few people know.

That isn’t to say that “Defiance” is a bad film. It’s actually extremely compelling and features outstanding performances from many of its actors, but, for one reason or another, it never achieves greatness. Though they could not look more unrelated, Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell are uniformly excellent as Tuvia, Zus, and Asael Bielski, three brothers who unintentionally create a thriving camp in a forest where Jews from all over Belarus come to seek sanctuary.

Craig and Schreiber’s magnetism make their scenes together standouts and their constant quarrels over the prioritization of maintaining civilization, basic survival and vengeance are the best features of the film. Mark Feuerstein and Iddo Goldberg are also commendable, though Alexa Davalos and Mia Wasikowska are glaringly miscast as two refugees. Their subplots, which involve the men taking “forest wives,” seem to belong to a different film altogether.

“Defiance” is certainly not director Ed Zwick’s best effort by any means. Though far from perfect, “Defiance” remains incredibly profound.

January 25, 2009

Reporters

Sarah B. Pilchick

Senior EDGE Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

Five years and two days after being fired as FIU’s football coach, at least one report declares form ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

The Hurricanes and Colonials square off at noon Saturday in Washington, D.C. ...

University of Miami men's basketball player Chris Stowell is an active member in the Hurricanes ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.