Tuesday, August 11, 2009


As soon as I read the brief plot synopsis on IMDB of Defiance, I knew it was a movie that I wanted to see. While I missed the experience of seeing it in theaters, I finally caught it one night on television. Defiance, which is based on actual events, tells the tale of the Bielski brothers (mostly the older two) who are a Jewish family living in Belarus, when the Nazis decide to roll on through and carry out the “Final Solution”. After witnessing the atrocities that are being inflicted on their neighbors, the brothers flee to the forest in an attempt to escape the same fate of their neighbors. As the Nazis carry out their plan, more and more people are jeopardized. However, after hearing about the Bielski’s that are hiding out in the forest, people begin to join them, and what started out as one family’s hiding place turns into a woodland safe-house for over 1,000 Jewish refugees, with the elder Bielski’s in the roles as caretakers.
As I was watching this movie, there was one thing that kept on bugging me; I wasn’t feeling any of the emotion that the film should be rampant with. Of course there were instances where the audience served as the witnesses to the emotion, but I never felt it. This lack of feeling really caught my attention. In a time where there was so much to be afraid of, why didn’t I feel any of it.
Although some may say I am devoid of emotion, and that is the reason for the lack of feelings, I believe that the cause of this lay in the two main characters, Tuvia (Daniel Craig) and Zus (Liev Schreiber). Both did an admirable job acting, but there seemed to be only strength in their characters, and no emotional parts. I wasn’t sure if they were stonewalling because of their roles as the leaders, or if the emotion just wasn’t there. I know it may seem weird that I am focusing so much on the emotion of this film, but when it comes to films that have the atrocities of the Holocaust as their backdrop, I have found emotion to be the main aspect of the film.
As I said there seemed to be nothing wrong with the acting, nothing was over the top, as some films that deal with this historical period tend to do, but it seemed to be compensating for the films that overwhelm their audiences with emotion by allowing the audience to feel very little. It is very hard to lose yourself in the story when you feel as though a major aspect is escaping you. I understand that some people may find this review to be bad, but I have tried to write it several times, and I keep getting lost in the lack of emotion of this film. In the end I would have to say that this film allows the audience to be outsiders that are looking in, but not participating or connecting with the characters. This aspect has made it very hard to give Defiance a rating, but I feel comfortable giving it a 7.

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