Defiance Edward Zwick

Defiance Edward Zwick
Throughout the feature-length commentary track with Edward Zwick and the half-hour "Return to the Forest: Making Of" supplement on the Defiance DVD, the word "remarkable" is tossed around a lot. According to Zwick, the Bielski brothers, on which the film is based, are remarkable; the actors' interpretations are remarkable; the image of refugees looking for a home in a biblical context is remarkable; the ideological struggle in developing a new community is remarkable; and so on. The film itself is not remarkable. It's not bad, necessarily, fulfilling melodramatic goals without too much schmaltz and positing ideological conflict fraternally with a certain grace, but it's laboured, unfocused and forgettable as well. Based on historical accounts of Tuvia (Daniel Craig) and Zus (Liev Schreiber) Bielski during WWII, the film tells the story of a group of Jews that successfully defied the warring Germans by creating a community in the woods, waging war on any attempted infiltrators. Facing a rough battle for survival, breeding is banned, as are most erroneous concerns, despite budding love around the camp (enter Alexa Davalos and Iben Hjejle). Debates amongst community intellectuals that prove useless in survival situations prove far too on-the-nose from a mealy exposition perspective, but the centre of everything, wherein Zus appears callous, appreciating the bigger picture, while Tuvia worries more about the quotidian and administration, keeps things trucking. For a Sunday afternoon rental audiences could do far worse than Defiance, which certainly counts for something. Included with the DVD is the aforementioned feature commentary, which is very stern and wide-eyed, in addition to a supplement titled "Children of the Otriad: The Families Speak," wherein the children of Zus and Tuvia Bielski reflect on their fathers and discussions about the war. Also included are a photo gallery and a trailer. (Paramount)