Defiance

User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 153 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 153
  2. Negative: 46 out of 153

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User Reviews

  1. ClareG.
    Jan 20, 2009
    4
    Some good moments and a great story on which to base a movie, but filled with terrible dialogue and cliches.
  2. jacksfilmblog.blogspot
    Jan 21, 2009
    4
    Zwick is a director with honourable intentions with an interest in telling stories about the struggles that different cultures have had to face. However, he seems to be genuinely unaware that his films always use the plights of minorities simply as a device to redeem his white heroes, and in the end there is no escaping the slightly uncomfortable image of the decidedly un-Semitic looking Zwick is a director with honourable intentions with an interest in telling stories about the struggles that different cultures have had to face. However, he seems to be genuinely unaware that his films always use the plights of minorities simply as a device to redeem his white heroes, and in the end there is no escaping the slightly uncomfortable image of the decidedly un-Semitic looking Daniel Craig nobly leading the helpless Jews to safety. Expand
  3. HyperS
    Jan 16, 2009
    5
    I was struggling to remain focused. 2 hours in the woods with merely 10 minutes of credible action [Yes, there was slightly more, but it was just standard tiny German patrols (snore)]. I just don't think the dialogue or the community is entertaining enough to fill the void. Plus, sometimes you're left wondering why this community of Jews was allowed to remain in the woods for I was struggling to remain focused. 2 hours in the woods with merely 10 minutes of credible action [Yes, there was slightly more, but it was just standard tiny German patrols (snore)]. I just don't think the dialogue or the community is entertaining enough to fill the void. Plus, sometimes you're left wondering why this community of Jews was allowed to remain in the woods for years despite having been discovered by patrols, etc. Or the fact that hundreds fled a Ghetto seemingly easily into the woods, but no Germans bothered to pursue? Maybe they were busy fighting the war I suppose. The movie would have been better served venturing out of the woods once and a while to give the viewer a broader view of where this scenario was playing out and how much of a German presence was around the woods or even how big the woods were. Instead all we get is a few farms and one German radar station. 2 hours of monotonous wood scenery and some Jews walking from one spot to the other is just too much. I really can't recommend the movie as I spent the latter half hoping it would end so I could go home, but the fact that it was based on a true story makes it somewhat more intriguing to watch. Expand
  4. Aug 13, 2011
    6
    Not great, but a good portrayal of an amazing true story. Get's better as the movie progresses. Beautiful snow scenes contrast the horror. Captivating, but not enough.
  5. Aug 26, 2011
    5
    A remarkable true story is left as a rather pedestrian and uninspired action flick in the hands of director Edward Zwick. We are left with routine drama and routine action, with self-important imagery and dialogue to lift itself above that.
  6. Jan 23, 2012
    6
    Les Insurgés était sur le papier un sujet en or, surtout s'il se trouvait entre les mains d'un réalisateur comme Edward Zwick. Malheureusement, le film est bien en dessous de ce que j'attendais... Pourquoi? A cause d'un travail technique (mise en scène entre autre) trop académique? Ce n'est pas dérangeant, auLes Insurgés était sur le papier un sujet en or, surtout s'il se trouvait entre les mains d'un réalisateur comme Edward Zwick. Malheureusement, le film est bien en dessous de ce que j'attendais... Pourquoi? A cause d'un travail technique (mise en scène entre autre) trop académique? Ce n'est pas dérangeant, au final(il n'y a qu'à voir ce que cela a donné sur l'excellent Le Dernier Samouraï)... Je dirai plutôt que le film se perd surtout dans sa première moitié, qui semble montée à la va-vite et qui fait perdre tout intérêt que l'on puisse porter à cette histoire; et que cela manque d'une bonne BO de qualité (Hans Zimmer sur Le Dernier Samouraï, encore). Heureusement, Les Insurgés n'est pas un film à jeter, grâce à sa seconde partie, bien plus prenante et palpitante. De plus, le film est aidé par un casting honorable. Mais quand même, après avoir vu Blood Diamond, difficile de ne pas être déçu par ce film quasi "brouillon" et quelque peu académique... Expand
  7. Feb 24, 2013
    5
    Defiance is the real life story of the Bielski brothers, who during WWII in Belarus, saved and protected 1200 fellow Jews from the Nazis. The Bielski's never sought recognition for what they did, however the descendents of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands. The story is truly inspiring, as for the movie, it moved very slowly and like all war stories, was much tooDefiance is the real life story of the Bielski brothers, who during WWII in Belarus, saved and protected 1200 fellow Jews from the Nazis. The Bielski's never sought recognition for what they did, however the descendents of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands. The story is truly inspiring, as for the movie, it moved very slowly and like all war stories, was much too long. You quickly see that the story repeats itself over and over again. The film starts off very strong and than just flat-lines. It's a shame, because it's a great cast and an inspiring, relatively unknown story, but it just doesn't go anywhere. Expand
  8. Sep 20, 2014
    5
    Defiance proves that not any Holocaust retelling makes for quality film. This one is extremely underwhelming, despite actual promise. There are moments of intense, genuine drama; however, it's hidden beneath several awkward performances.
  9. Jun 22, 2013
    6
    I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. Defiance is a fairly run of the mill film that, considering the subject matter, is not as inspiring or emotionally intense as it could have been. The plot just seems to move along without being able to grab you and pull you in to the plight of the Bielski group, despite the deaths and suffering of it's members. Also, the plot doesn't reallyI wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. Defiance is a fairly run of the mill film that, considering the subject matter, is not as inspiring or emotionally intense as it could have been. The plot just seems to move along without being able to grab you and pull you in to the plight of the Bielski group, despite the deaths and suffering of it's members. Also, the plot doesn't really feature any twists, none in fact, so any increase in excitement or suspense is really limited.

    The acting scores a plus for the film, if you are prepared to accept some fluctuating Eastern European accents. All three leads turn in good performances but the supporting cast of Alexa Davalos and Allan Corduner are more than worthy of equal mention.

    A well made and acted film that surprisingly lacks in genuine drama and emotion.
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  10. Jul 20, 2014
    4
    Defiance: 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. In addition, 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 notDefiance: 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. In addition, 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 faults off 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 looks 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.

    In fact, Craig and Schreiber seem to be in two different films and Schreiber is in the much better one. Schreiber seems to be in the here and now with a strong 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, just give me an Oscar and I will go back to entertaining you, baby blues doesn'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.

    — Kate Winslet (Winner of the 2008 Best Actress Oscar for Holocaust drama The Reader) in Extras, 2005

    Defiance is clearly 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 really 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 clearly 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. 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 Reisenthal’s travelling 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 Craig…. Yeah the movie has issues.

    *No nominations except, inexplicably, for its score; which at two hours of crying violins will test any ones nerves.
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Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. It's a heroic story, and Zwick frames it rather too strenuously as an antidote to the generic Holocaust stories of Jewish passivity and martyrdom. And yet, as a piece of historical redress, a great service has been done in bringing this narrative to the screen.
  2. That butting of heads, as performed by actors as strong and soulful as Craig and Schreiber, lends Defiance an emotional charge, even as the film itself struggles dramatically to find its way out of those woods.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    A potentially exceptional story is told in a flatly unexceptional manner.