November 9, 2009

Movie Review: Defiance

'Defiance' is the based-on-a-true-story account of four Jewish brothers in Belarus who, in 1941, started a camp in the forest to hide themselves, their families (however extended) and, eventually, over one thousand Jewish refugees.

The movie wasn't great. First off, nothing annoys me more than movies set in foreign lands where they speak English with that country's accent. Worse, when then, inexplicably, another language warrants subtitles. Aggravating. Secondly, the three main characters happened to be played by James Bond, Billy Elliott and the guy from Screams 1-3 - that's a little hard to look beyond.

(Speaking of casting, Trevor has no recollection of 'Good Morning, Miami' - if only I were so lucky. A major supporting character was played by the guy from that, who has also appeared on every mediocre television show of the last 10 years. Putting glasses on him doesn't make him any more believable as a Socialist intellectual.)

There were a few points brought up (in a very surface-level kind of way) that I found interesting, since they're atypical for novels & movies on this subject, particularly class issues within Jewish society.

The movie really jumps right into it, taking the brothers to their farm to discover their parents have been murdered, and showing a mass grave within the first five minutes. My first thought was that it was too much, too fast, but I'm now thinking it worked best this way. If there's one subject in world history that maybe doesn't require elaborate set-up and backstory, it's probably the Holocaust.

While the locations and sets were beautiful, the action sequences weren't particularly believable and there were some awkward montages, bizarre editing and one disastrous decision to try to make two men into comic relief (because nothing calls for humor like the Holocaust?).

7 Twix bars!


Beth said...

Ashley, yay I miss your great movie reviews! I have Defiance on my list of movies to see even though I have heard mixed reviews about this one. Glad to have you chime in...hope all is well in Cali!