• R, 2 hr. 17 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Edward Zwick
    In Theaters:
    Jan 16, 2009 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jun 2, 2009
  • Paramount Vantage
  • Defiance
    2 minutes 58 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Defiance Reviews

Page 1 of 557
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2009
Defiance is the true story of Jewish brothers Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber who hid from the Nazis in the Belarussian forest and quickly found themselves with an entire community of fleeing refugees to protect. Edward Zwick has always been fond of telling stories about the triumph of the human spirit and has on occasion been guilty of over-egging the sentimental side of things to get his intended point across. Defiance is no exception, but thanks to some clever writing and a strong central performance by Daniel Craig, this film manages to pull itself back from the brink of schmaltz. When Craig mounted a white steed and gave a very Braveheart speech to his new subjects, I thought "Oh great...here we go again...", but soonafter when the people begin to starve, he promptly pulls out a Luger and puts a bullet in its head, almost as if to say "there's a time and a place for pomp and bluster, but this isn't it"! He shows the conflict between animal instinct and humanity quite nicely, sometimes showing compassion and yes, speech making, but at others dealing with the issues at hand with a ruthless efficiency. Craig and some handsome photography made this film for me and although it is guilty of emotional button pushing, sometimes those are the buttons you want to be pushed; especially when it comes to seeing at least one small victory against the greatest shower of evil bastards ever to walk the Earth...
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2013
With the exception of Asael Bielski, the memories of those living in the woods all those years are respected in this telling of their story. Asael Bielski went on to fight and die only a couple of years after the film finishes but his intentions are never made that clear in the film. There are always going to be inaccuracies in historical films but I think they got most of right, Zus Bielski is not always shown in a great light but their struggle and what they achieved is excellently told. Edward Zwick seems to have toned down his usual heavy handedness and for me it's a huge improvement.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2010
I wanted to love this movie. The plot, the actors, the setting, all seemed to be the perfect setup for a gripping and dramatic film. Edward Zwick directed this movie and he tends to take sensitive topics and throw in blockbuster action scenes. It almost gave the movie an artificial feeling. Not only that, the follow-up to the ending was dreadfully simplistic with very weak character development. There is one scene noteworthy that really brings out Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber's acting performance, other than that, this movie lacks.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2008
If you were trying to find a way to bash this film you could say that it is about people running and hiding through the same kind of forest for two hours. That would not do the film any justice, of course, even if it is visually somewhat repetitive. The true story of three Belorussian brothers who take it into their own hands to safe as many Jews from the Nazi occupation as possible, by hiding in the woods. Especially the relationship between the reasonable leader Daniel Craig and hot-tempered Liev Schreiber makes the movie interesting even through a couple of slow passages. It also raises interesting questions about the nature of resistance and revenge in its different aspects. The action-packed showdown is really exciting, because those characters have grown on you by then. An enthralling and very entertaining unknown chapter of WW2 history.
Raymond W

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2011
Despite a great and inspiring story, and wonderful actors and director, it's hard to think that Defiance wouldn't be great, but the reality is not quite so positive. The cinematography is extremely gorgeous: shot on location in Lithuania. The actors do a good job (except for Daniel Craig who can't seen to keep his accent), and James Newton Howard provides an intense, powerful score that should have won the Best Soundtrack Oscar, but the screenplay is cliched, and the film doesn't have any depth or emotional gravity to be powerful and involving.
Julie B

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2011
Well acted and interesting. And the dirtier Daniel Craig gets, the bluer his eyes look. Just sayin'.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2008
Two Jewish brothers square off over the Nazi problem: one believes to fight fire with more fire, the other seeks the road less travelled. In the balance hangs the lives of escapees from the Jewish ghettoes. Predictably inspiring.
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2011
This movie is based on a true story, which is very moving, its WWII and the Germans are killing Jews and two brothers take to the thick forest and build a camp and start taking in other Jews hiding and fleeing for their lives. Along the way they take revenge for the killing of their parents and also they protect themselves from other Jews. The Story Alone is worth 4 stars.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

August 23, 2011
Two Jewish brothers fight Nazis from a forest hideaway, which is quickly populated by refugees.
What I liked about this film was that it has some complexity. Though I think the theme remains unexplored, there is a real moral question that divides the brothers Bielski: when does killing and war become morally wrong even in the face of depravity? Yes, it eventually degrades into a basic war film, but the moments when the uncertainly militant Tuvia confronts the boorish Zus create compelling drama.
Also, I thought the action sequences were well-done, thrilling even though they're largely predictable.
Daniel Craig's performance is quite strong and understated, his character written in the lines of his face, and the normally too-stoic, placid Liev Schreiber delivers some heart-wrenching scenes, especially when he learns of his family's death.
I didn't like the film's anti-intellectual vein. Intellectuals are portrayed as mostly useless and foolhardy, especially during the climactic battle sequence.
I also thought there were too many scenes of refugees standing under trees, which adversely affected the film's pace.
Overall, this is a compelling true story that puts to bed the myth that Holocaust victims went quietly and placidly; some of them were just as bad-ass as James Bond.
Kristijonas F

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2011
A solid survival story with the always-motivating Daniel Craig at the helm, Defiance drags on for a little too long, and doesn't offer enough gripping drama to compensate for this flaw. However - it was filmed entirely in the gorgeous forests of my home country of Lithuania - and for that fact alone I recommend this film. If anything - it serves as a visual tour-guide to the lovely forestry of Eastern Europe!
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

April 23, 2011
Defiance is a great tale, it just wasn't a great movie. The goods about the movie: the music was incredible, the acting from Craig and the other was very good, and the dramatic and intense moments are truly heartwrenching. The bad: the story gets very long and boring as the movie goes on because nothing is happening, I think the historical accuracy is a little sketchy, I think nere the end they tried making a Holocaust movie into an action movie. Overall, dont get me wrong I really liked this, but I had too many problems to say it was great.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 4, 2010
Based on true events, this movie is very good for people who like war dramas. I cannot think of anything that I didnt like about this movie! Great WWII story about endurance, and survival. The writers were careful about the details, including the relationships between the men and women that developed throughout this nightmare. The battle scenes are intense. The revenge scene is hard to watch, but easy to believe. Fantastic movie..
Shawn E

Super Reviewer

March 14, 2011
An incredible true story of strength and survival. Craig's acting is powerful and inspiring. The story is dark and at parts quite disturbing, but the true spirited heroes that saved hundreds of Jewish lives we shall not forget.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

July 1, 2009
Defiance unfortunately relies on the impeccable chemistry between its main stars Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. And the time they've got together onscreen seemingly transcends any flaws brought on by the script and/or direction. Unfortunately after the first hour once the characters part ways Defiance turns into a Schindler's List camping trip. That last hour also gives way to a tidal wave of cliches and obviousness that left me begging for the end. Decent acting on the part of the aforementioned stars but by no means necessary viewing.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2010
Defiance is a great film that tells the story of four Jewish Brothers who escape the clutches of the Nazi regime. They hide out in the Belarussian forest and join the resistance and seek helping other Jews. Defiance is a film that shows the true value of courage. The film is highly underrated because people have expected a full blown war film in the style of Saving Private Ryan. This is not the case with Defiance. For that, the film has gotten a lot of flack. I, on the other hand really enjoyed it, as it is a different type of war film. I enjoy something different. This film shows common brothers joining a resistance movement, while protecting a couple of Jews. That sparked by interest because they're are not many films on the resistance during WWII, no less on Jewish Brothers who join a resistance movement. To me, I thought it was a great story idea, and the film was great. The cast involved bring something terrific on screen. This is one of the best films that Daniel Craig has ever played in, and he truly delivers something unique on screen. He's in a performance that you won't easily forget. Edward Zwick directs Defiance with style and he really does deliver a film that shows what common people would do to survive. Edward Zwich has always been a director that tells a great story on screen. His films ooze drama, intrigue and resolve. Defiance continues that tradition. Though not Zwick's greatest film, this is still a very good film. The film is a different take on the stereotypical war film, which is a breath of fresh air.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2010
An amazing film of the true heroism during World War Two. An enchanting tale of how normal people battled to save their own lives as well as complete strangers. What makes this such an amazing story is knowing that these people continued to fight through all those years, those tough winters, without food or real warmth. The acting was brilliant and I really felt involved and in touch with these characters. It was slow and slightly boring in some places but this is based on a real story so it's bound to have some rough patches.
Jani H

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2010
"Nothing is impossible. What we all have done is impossible!"

Edward Zwick is a director, whose films are so called epic films with thought provoking drama, beautiful cinematography and fine acting. 'Glory', 'The Last Samurai' and 'Blood Diamond' are his best efforts thus far and fine achievements all together. 'Defiance', his latest film, has a good story to tell but lacks the "Zwickness".

WWII stories will never grow out on us. Seems as if every year, there will come out at least a couple of films that have something to do with antisemitism. 'Defiance' is based on a true story but even though it surely is a good story to be told, the film just wasn't enough emotional for me. One of the biggest flaws of the movie is that it's kinda slow paced. Many scenes feel a bit prolonged and too dramatized (an actual word?). I actually felt bored at times and just could care less of what would happen next. Because it was based on a true story, I knew that nothing that bad could actually happen. Or could it...?

I've never liked when actors try to speak with an eastern European accent. Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber are both good actors, and they even speak fluently the Russian language, but when not they have this accent that sounds almost as horrible as the one that Harrison Ford had on 'K-19 - The Widowmaker'. But without the whole accent thing, both of 'em give good performances. Especially Schreiber.

'Defiance' was a disappointment to me. Couldn't be without comparing this film to his older works and I must say that this is his least successful. But 'Defaince' is not that bad, even though I've only said bad things about it. In a professional way, it looks good and sounds good but the flaws in it are just stronger.
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2009
Entertaining, touching film that starts slow but eventually demands that you invest in its climax. Not a masterpiece, but not a bad movie either, based on a true story no less. Solid rental.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2010
It was good, but if you have a 5 o' clock appointment, and you want to be on time, start this movie at 1 o' clock, because when it's over you will be like whoa, what time is it, i'm going to be late, but it's really only going to be 3:00. Be sure to have a lot of time on your hands if you want to watch this!
LWOODS04
LWOODS04

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2009
Four Jewish brothers escape from Nazi-occupied Poland into the Belarussian forest, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and others in danger.
Great performances all around in this movie. A true story that is heart breaking, and inspiring. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, and George MacKay play four brothers who decided to fight back and live. Soon many came to join them and in doing so these four brothers saved many lives. You can't help but cheer on these brothers and feel inspired by what they did for their fellow people. These people are fighting for their lives, starving, questioning their faith, and wondering if they will turn into the animals they feel like, that are being hunted. I have watched a lot of movies I normally wouldn't watch and have been surprised by how much I have liked them. This is one of those movies. It's filled with heroism and bravery. Daniel Craig along with Liev Schreiber give great performances. Loved Jamie Bell in this movie. He is one my favorites, and it was good to see him in something like this. But my favorite performance came from Liev Schreiber. Probably the best performance I have seen from him. This is a must see for sure.
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