Just when you thought you couldnâ€™t take one more World War II-related movie, along comes the worthy Defiance. The rare Holocaust film that emphasizes courage and strength rather than victimization or even morbid fascination, the film is a character study of brothers who led a resistance among Jews who escaped the Nazis. Daniel Craig take on a very different kind of role for him with Tuvia Bielski, and other than a few accent glitches, I thought he did a fine job. Liev Schreiber as his brother Zus was excellent. Jamie Bell, as the third brother, I could take or leave.
I also went in expected a typically superficial treatment of a Holocaust story. The Nazis generally have to be completely evil, and the Jews completely tragic. This movie was nothing like that at all. The Jews here are fleshed-out, interesting characters. They have triumphs and failures, they make good decisions and terrible decisions. The way this story is told makes you realize (or remember) how one-dimensional most of these movies are. I wouldnâ€™t say itâ€™s a â€œfeelgoodâ€ movieâ€”itâ€™s very intense and there are some hard to take scenes, especially in the beginning. But I do think itâ€™s inspirational, and considering how many real-life stories from World War II have been made into movies itâ€™s remarkable it took until now to get this one on the big screen.