John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Defiance (2008): 4 out of 10: I have a soft spot for director Edward Zwick. I have a real soft spot for his Blood Diamond flick despite its pedestrian script and subconscious racism. Also, The Last Samurai is another film of his that I loved despite its historical inaccuracies and bizarre lead casting. Defiance shares many of the same endemic faults that plagued those two films. I was not able to brush the flaws of this time; I found them even more discordant as the film went on.
Problem number one is Daniel Craig. He does not look like an Eastern Polish Jew. He seems like he misplaced his Oberstleutnant uniform at the Wehrmacht's cleaners. Even if you were able to accept Daniel Craig as some sort of Paul Newman style Jew who parachuted into Eastern Europe, only Helen Keller would buy him as Lev Schreiber's brother. A mutant dancing Australian is a more believable brother for Schreiber than Craig is.
Craig and Schreiber seem to be in two different films and Schreiber is in the much better one. Schreiber appears to be in the here and now with a robust subtle performance that is the best thing in the film. Daniel Craig's performance is as shaky as his accent. He, of course, is forced to do things like give Braveheart speeches from the back of a white horse, so the fault is hardly his alone. And saying platitudes such as "Our vengeance is to live" and "Every day of freedom is like an act of faith" while gazing at the camera with those, give me an Oscar and I will go back to entertaining you, baby blues don't help his cause either.
Problem number Two is best summarized by one of my favorite ladies.
I don't think we really need another film about the Holocaust, do we? It is like, how many have there been, you know. We get it. It was grim. Move on. No, I am doing it because I have noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust, you are guaranteed an Oscar ... That is why I am doing it. Schindler's bloody List. The Pianist. Oscars coming out of their arse.
ï¿ 1/2" Kate Winslet (Winner of the 2008 Best Actress Oscar for Holocaust drama The Reader) in Extras, 2005
Defiance is Oscar bait. In one scene Daniel "Moses" Craig leads his people through the reeds and swamps and away from the forest (and inexplicably away from decent cover and fortifications) until a Rabbi collapses, sputters out "I almost lost my faith, but you were sent by God to save us" and then promptly dies... oy vey. It is not that easy to make a mainstream Holocaust film, release it in December, and get no nominations* for Golden Globes or Oscars. Defiance is trying too hard.
The third problem is that a third rate cast of Fiddler on the Roof somehow showed up lost in the woods. Somebody call the Jewish stereotype prison, cause there has been a mass escape. Everyone is here. We have the nebbish intellectual who cannot hammer a nail, the passive Jews who are unwilling to fight, the greedy Jew more interested in money than his fellow man. Good lord, it is as if Leni Riefenstahl's traveling troop of stereotypes showed up. Thank goodness, Daniel Craig is here to straighten them all out and lead them to the Promised Land. Yup blond, blue-eyed Daniel Craigï¿ 1/2. Yeah, the movie has issues.
*No nominations except, inexplicably, for its score; which at two hours of crying violins that will test any one's nerves.
Incredible, well written masterpiece - a keep you glued to your seat thrilling drama based on a true story. Excellent acting and thought provoking movie, a Must See for WWII history buffs.
I really loved this. So many important points and a lot of humor. There is a moment when the brother showed up that was so moving.
One of the best movies I've watched this year by far!!
A really good story that deserves to be told.
A story worth telling. Liev turns in a solid performance and Daniel and the rest of the cast bring good support. While somewhat gritty, the harsh reality of the circumstances aren’t fully conveyed.
sincere and well acted but nothing quite lifts this film off the well TRODDEN path.
Fascinating piece of history that deserved to be made into a film. Nice to see Me Bond, Daniel Craig appear for a gritty role that involves some ruthless choices in order to survive. Let down by some absolutely pants action scenes, shooting from the hip saves the day - and stylistically not as gritty as the subject matter might require.
This film is not perfect, but I loved it and will watch it again.
Underrated film. Very good and very well done. Acting and directing was great.