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Review: Defiance

Perfectly coiffed actors in the unforgiving woodland setting is a poor choice
By BRETT MICHEL  |  January 13, 2009
2.0 2.0 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Defiance

Interview: Ed Zwick. By Shaula Clark

Edward Zwick directs the true-ish tale of the Bielskis (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell), three Jewish brothers who escaped the Holocaust during WW2 by taking refuge in the dense Belarusian forest, where they led a resistance movement, building a community of fellow refugees that numbered nearly 1200 by war's end.

As in Steven Spielberg's Munich (which also starred Craig), the Jews take a pro-active role, so Defiance avoids stereotypical victimization. But, Zwick being Zwick, he victimizes his own film with his worst instincts. Although not as bad as casting Tom Cruise as a samurai, filling lead roles with handsome, perfectly coiffed actors in the unforgiving woodland setting is as poor a choice as having a pock-marked actor play an ee-vil Jew. Zwick even tosses in a Hollywood-style romance, with a candle-lit love scene for bad measure.

Photos of the real Bielskis (combovers and all) that run under the end credits tell a different tale. I wish I could have seen it.

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