Written by Pirata Hermosa
The first thing that jumped to mind after seeing Defiance was that it was not at all what I expected. Instead of an action-packed film about a man who ran an underground railroad during World War II, it ended up being more of a wilderness survival movie.
Four brothers find themselves on the run from the war when Germany invades their country and begins slaughtering the Jews. Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) and his brother Zus (Live Schrieber) return to the family home to check on their parents and siblings. When they arrive, they find that everyone has been slaughtered with the exception of their two younger brothers Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George MacKay).
Having nowhere else to go, the four head into the nearby forest where they have spent many hours over the years. But they aren’t the only ones who seek refuge in the forest. As more and more Jews flee persecution, they come to the Bielskis for safety. Slowly their group, or Otriad as it is called, begins to grow.
Tuvia finds that he cannot turn anyone away, while Zus wants to turn them all away. Not only is there not enough food for everyone, but Zus is more interested in taking out his revenge on the Germans and the Russians who sold out their family.
There are a few really good action scenes in the film, like when Tuvia goes to the home of the officer who killed his parents and returns the favor, and the ending battle with a tank.
Unfortunately, the action is few and far between. The rest of the film is mostly about building shelters, rationing food, and surviving illnesses. There are a few entertaining discussions between intellectual types as the Ortriad struggles to become a community. A few romances begin to develop, but they are based more on the need for survival than they are love. It is interesting to see how these people managed to survive several years and cope with adversity, but it plays out pretty dry. Even the lead character, Tuvia, is a little dull.