The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Movie Review: Defiance

Grade: D

Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, and Alexa Davalos.

What happens?

Based on a true story, three Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe manage to avoid the Nazis by hiding in the woods and building a shelter. But soon, the brother with a heart of gold starts bringing home displaced Jews to live with them. Then, they start striking out at Nazis with the Russians, sneak into a concentration camp to save other Jewish people and have to run from the Nazis who are ticked about being killed by a bunch of ill-equipped people in the woods.

What's wrong with it?

So, we have James Bond, Cotton Weary (from Scream) and Billy Elliot who are orphaned when the Germans kill their parents. Craig starts bringing home more "mouths to feed" so the brothers have to team up with the Russians to keep everyone safe and fed. Schreiber wants to kill more Nazis so he leaves his big-hearted brother to fight with the Russians while Craig has to provide for more and more people with the help of Jamie Bell and their nearly mute brother. All the men have "forest wives" and women are basically sex slaves who are okay with and laugh about having to pay for security with sex. No one can shoot--you would think that after two years of training someone at least some would figure out how to aim properly. These forest-dwelling, starving villagers waste bullets like they have an unlimited store underneath all those empty food baskets. Then, in the end, the Nazis stand in an almost straight line and Craig, using a machine gun, only hits a couple of them. The dialog is ridiculous at times. Then, of course, it's the whole weird thing about sneaking into a concentration camp. The compound is surrounded by soldiers, but there happens to be a huge gaping hole in one of the walls. No wonder it's so easy to sneak prisoners out. Additionally, it takes nearly two hours for the action -- or any part of the movie really -- to get going and be moderately entertaining. The only thing that saves all of this from being absolutely unwatchable is the fact that it is at least based in part on real life.

The only cool thing:

The film is based on a true story of the Bielski brothers who saved and protected 1200 Jews from the Nazis during WWII. In the end, the filmmakers give us a brief history of what happened to them and why what they did matters. I'm sure, though, that what really happened was much more interesting than what happens in this bad reenactment.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at

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