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Movie Review: Defiance

Alternate Title: The Fabulous Bielski Boys

Story: I am my brother's keeper, and my sister's, neighbor and friend. This uplifting true story of survival by director Edward Zwick tells a tale of bravery and determination against insurmountable odds. It is refreshing to see a film about WWII where the Jews are not solely helpless victims. This film answers some of those questions about whether any Jews fought back. Yes, they did.

In a screenplay by Edward Zwick and Clay Frohman (Source Material - Nechama Tec) we meet the Bielski Brothers in 1941, Belarus. They were ordinary farmers, and it is inferred, smugglers, who rose to extraordinary human heights by spending over three years in the forests evading the Nazi army. They took in everyone they could find, fed them, protected them, taught them how to survive and by the end of their struggle when they left the forest, there were over 1200 of them.

The story is heartfelt, well choreographed, if at times, too predictable. While the film is flawed, the underlying idea of triumph over adversity will lift your spirits and worth your time.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIO8OI0JP50

Watch this video about Jewish Partisans. During World War II, 20,000-30,000 Jewish resistance fighters -- partisans - escaped ghettos and fought against the Germans and their collaborators. :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyZTtwP49Ws

Acting: I would follow Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski into any forest anytime, anywhere. Daniel Craig is on my top five list and can do no wrong. Liev Schreiber as Zus Bielski has a good meaty part as the conflicted brother.Jamie Bell as Asael Bielski is growing up to be a fine actor. Little Aron Bielski, played by George Mackay was sweet. The fine supporting cast was stellar al around.

Trivia: Director Ed Zwick went to Harvard and has directed 4 actors in Oscar nominated roles; Djimon Hounsou, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, and Denzel Washington. Denzel won his Oscar. Daniel Craig has also played a Jew in Munich and Fateless. Jamie Bell was chosen out of 2000 boys to play "Billy Elliot." Liev Schreiber grew up in Lower East Side New York. Graduated from Friends Seminary High School in Manhattan. He attended London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hampshire College and graduated from Yale.

Predilection: I like Daniel Craig

Critters: Lots of livestock and a horse and a dog that become part of the 'food' category below.

Food: The above horse and dog, potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes.

Sex Spectrum: Sex is supposed to be forbidden because they did not want any babies - but guess what? Sex happens.

Soundtrack: Soaring

Opening Titles: A grainy, file footage background showing you the location, date and events leading up to the story. Be sure to stick around to see the 'what happened to them' photos before the credits.

Visual Art: There are some beautiful photo essays of the woods. Sadly the nightmares that took place in these woods ruins all that beauty.

Theater Audience: Saw it in the Ziegfield Theater on opening day, first show. It had many people but the theater is so big it looked empty.

Weather: Winters in Belarus are tough. Brrrrrr. FYI - my family left that area and came to the US many years ago.

Drift Factor: It definitely needed some editing.

Predictability Level: I was not sure how those fabulous brothers were going to be at the end of the film.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No - although the music was beautiful.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen. For some other films by director Ed Zwick you can rent: Blood Diamond, The Siege, The Last Samurai, I am Sam, Legends of the Fall, Leaving Normal, Courage Under Fire, Glory and About Last Night.

Length: A bit overt two hours.