Defiance (2008) - Action, Drama, History

Hohum Score



Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.

IMDB: 7.2
Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber
Length: 137 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 38 out of 255 found boring (14.9%)

One-line Reviews (171)

From The Last Samurai, to The Siege, to Glory, to Blood Diamond, Zwick continues to masterfully blend riveting entertainment with lush cultural backdrops, history and deep societal issues.

Some dramatic scenes seem extremely touching while others are dull, and some action sequences are gripping while others are simply plot devices.

This is the basic premise of 'Defiance', an interesting, entertaining movie that, while too long, is alternately action-packed and quietly moving.

Not a perfect WWII film, but overall, a compelling one about bravery and determination .

Craig gives up any remnants of respect he had left at this point of his career and confirms his established role as a puppet for propaganda pieces meant to harm and confuse public opinion.

Shot by cinematographer Eduardo Serra in that same digitally tweaked, washed-out color palate that's become the cliché for WWII movies since Saving Private Ryan, Defiance ignores what's most interesting about its own story in favor of a ton of stock scenes we've already seen; there are no surprises here.

The cast which includes Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell should prepare audiences for a well acted and boldly moving film that one wouldn't want to leave the cinema to quickly to miss.

This film has an interesting premise, but the execution is a very long and very slow and very uninvolving bore.

The ending is predictable.

Full of good moments and its fair share of gripping scenes this is a decent film that needed more of a publicity/word of mouth following.

An enjoyable drama film, with solid, if not great, performances and some thrilling action .

Very interesting film about fascinating, little known story .

e over played machismo, cringey one liners that aren't funny, trying really hard to be emotional but coming across as wooden and so forth..Bottom line is the film is a complete tapping your fingers thinking of lunch.. bore.

) to include this in the movie might have made a really interesting plot line, instead we have a huge confusion.

When Nazis or Jews aren't getting gunned down, the silence is filled with rousing speeches on valour in the face of adversity, romantic gazes and religious iconography (courtesy of an old rabbi) of Moses/Tuvia leading his people towards the Promised Land.

There is enough suspense and drama to keep you on the edge of your seat, fragmented with small scenes of humour and love in just the right places.

The result is diffuse and a bit boring on various moments,so I was near to loose the interest.

In fact all the acting was high quality and the set (a real forest) was stunning and very atmospheric.

Defiance effectively relates the tumult and degradation of running from an enemy while entertaining with an almost Hollywood vision of a magical forest and enchanting visitors.

The dynamics between the characters is really intriguing and there isn't a dull moment.

Now rather than reveal any more of the movie and risk ruining it for those who haven't seen it, I will just say that this was an intense movie which did an excellent job in displaying the courage and perseverance of this small band of Jewish people living in Eastern Europe during this particular time.

The film is hackneyed, dreary and not even that interesting.

" These two have many tiresome parable-inflected arguments that play like bad knockoffs of the Talmudic debates Tony Kushner wrote for Munich.

All of that said, I found Defiance to be far more moving, suspenseful and entertaining than Valkyrie and Quantum of Solace combined.

The problem with "Defiance" is that Zwick relies on clichés galore when this compelling narrative could have sacrificed most of the clichés.

The settings were breathtaking, which is a trademark of Ed Zwick's work (the harsh African continent in Blood Diamond and the lush Japanese vistas of the Last Samurai).

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.

I appreciated these moments for what they brought to the film but wanted them to be part of the story, no, part of the characters as this would have made the film realer, more urgent and more engaging.

It's a deep, emotional, and riveting tale a true story that deserves to be told.

Though the film is somewhat conventional in its narrative, it is nevertheless both fascinating and beguiling.

This movie was so boring, way too long.

See the movie, if you like compelling story, good actors at their best, exciting action, and above all, the truth; you will love defiance.

I'm polish so the holocaust subject is quite familiar for me, but after first CD I felt a little bit bored.

Those sequences were well done, although sometimes, two groups shooting at each other gets a little tedious.

The director managed to make all his characters 'real' and the story was dull enough for short periods to be totally true to life.

Exciting, Inspirational, Craig and Scheiber are Fine .

What with all the stories told from every faction of WWII and how everybody trounced those pesky Nazi Germans, things can get a bit formulaic!


Sometimes the most fascinating stories don't transfer too well onto the silver screen .

Just a very enjoyable, hopeful, uplifting movie about Jewish fugitives and to a lesser extent Russian fugitives, living a nomadic life , setting kibbutz like camp, at any areas they felt safe , while always looking out for danger.

It on paper seems like a great and fascinating story, that besides has plenty of originally to it as well but the eventual movie is just, I'm sorry to say, very uninteresting to watch.

As much as "based on actual events" a movie can be,I think it is a mistake to look for genuine veracity on a product which was mainly created for entertaining the spectators and making profits to its studio,distributors,etc.

Sustained my interest and was suspenseful and unpredictable throughout.

He's able to tell little-known stories in an exciting, dramatic and well-paced way and DEFIANCE is no exception.

The rest of the characters were dull, predictable and clichéd.

Another amazing work on the original score by James Newton Howard that gives us an intense, pulse-pounding feeling during the battle and the sad, dramatic mood during their travel.

The end of the movie is far too predictable and embarrassing.

The performances are very poor and the lines are too predictable.

Hence the clichés that abound, and the boring predictability, that separate the viewer from any emotional involvement.

Action Packed Thriller ...

However, the movie is way too long with some scenes that are, also, way too long; and sometimes it just gets boring and made me want to multitask.

Gripping and taut throughout, with a realistic, gritty film style that increases its intensity, this is a well-directed, well-edited, well-acted, well-filmed movie that keeps you riveted to the very end - and shocks you with what it shows.

While he may not be flashy or stylish, he composes some solid films that help teach a little lesser-known history while also telling a story worth watching.

In the end the film was waaaaaaay too slow, not engaging enough and despite some strong performances by some of the cast, some nice photography along the way - it just doesn't gel.

Defiance is not a bad film though, indeed it is quite engaging and quite good.

The first time I've seen Daniel Craig in such an intense leading character (shedding his 007 image far behind) with balancing his character at his best.

But I left the theater amazed at how brilliant this movie was.

Very Compelling .

Though it is a bit slow in the beginning, by the end the plot/characters will really have you rooting for success.

Craig's character struggles to control others, but disappoints later on as he goes from being an interesting man through most of the film into a fairly dull hero by the end.

Don't waste your time.

With pitch perfect casting, believable storyline, interesting historical backdrop, entertaining gun fights and chase sequence and finishing off with an emotional punch.

So, in spite of being a little stilted at times, this is both an honourable ans effective piece of film-making that tells a little-known story in a manner which manages to be both informative and entertaining.

In my eyes, it was a huge failure and waste of time.

Interesting and Entertaining .

Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber, who played Jewish brothers ("Tuvia and Zus Bielski," respectively) with different outlooks on how to survive and/or fight the Nazis, were riveting.

Yes, his films are of a varied quality, but they were always highly entertaining (Legends of the fall, Blood diamond), sometimes even thought provoking (Glory, The siege, Courage under fire).

But this film waters down that story to such a straightforward and easy piece of dramatic cliché that you aren't nearly as fascinated by the profound bravery of these people.

Craig and Schrieber put in stunning performances in the lead roles.

"Defiance" takes the time to develop characters you can care about and then goes on to tell a compelling story about how a small group of people who were targeted as undeserving of life according to Nazi philosophy survive and keep their humanity intact until the war was finally over.

The shooting sequences in the film between Jews and Germans are exciting and terrifying at the same time.

In the end its simply boring, long, and artificial - doesn't click.

A nice, but a little bit boring movie, which - unfortunately - pretends to be a true.

While I don't say this is a must see, it is a breath of fresh air seeing an acting Daniel Craig compared with the last Bond film where he had no script in Quantum of Solace to work with.

Its pointless to go over where and how I saw this movie.


For what should be an uplifting and revitalising tale steeped in pathos, Defiance is instead only sporadically engaging and lacking in the required heart or passion needed to truly convey the core of its own message.

They are very dull characters that don't peak any interest in me whatsoever.

It's not a great film, as it is fairly predictable at spots and Daniel Craig generally playing one emotion for the majority of the film.

The way the story is presented leaves the viewer no reason to be compelled, and the cliché moments in the film, that try to draw emotion, never achieve their purpose.

When the final credits roll, despite several moments of compelling character drama or action—despite the many stark and breath-taking images that Zwick inflicts upon you—despite such moments, Defiance can't quite escape the fact that it lacks any drive or momentum.

Plus on top of that cliché is another cliché, the stealing from the rich to give to the poor Robin Hood cliché'.

"Defiance" is a very entertaining, exciting, suspenseful, and inspirational film about a tough topic: the Holocaust.

A particularly compelling sequence involves Tuvia leading the refugees to safety across a huge expanse of swampy wasteland; the parallels to Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt while parting the Red Sea comes to mind.

Remember this guy also made The Last Samarai - another slow, poor-ending film.

It just seems like a bunch of people standing around in the woods waiting for something to happen, occasionally throwing in a predictable twist to the story.

A story that focuses on the ordeals of man living with man through a period of intense crisis is incomplete if it wouldn't address the issue of man's darker side getting the better of him.

The bond between the three brothers in the story (Daniel Craig, Liev Schrieber, Jamie Bell) is one of the more fascinating parts of the picture, as are the actors performances to greater or lessor degrees.

Fascinating sub- texts are flirted with; the anti-Semitism of the Soviet Partisans themselves, the hopeless position of villagers pressed by the Germans, Partisans AND Bielski, the "forest wives" morality of the refugees versus a "no-babies" policy, the class –conflicts within the refugees themselves and the invidious position of the local Police Force.

Throughout the film tension is woven by utilizing a number of different methods, all of which make the movie much more compelling.

Big plot problems but otherwise an enjoyable film.

A Propaganda Film That Defies Truth .

) Tuvia and Zus become exaggerated types while poor Asael becomes an empty suit.

Another "true story" that is made trite and meaningless by Hollywood.

The action is exciting and modern without detracting from the historical context and the forest is captured beautifully on camera.

Apart from this, the cinematography is also breathtaking at times.

In the context of the movie, however, they just can't hold their own on an emotional level, thus boring me and leaving me with an empty and underwhelmed feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Craig's role here is 10 times better than his Bland Bond from Quantum of Solace, and has more personality here to showcase his acting chops.

Being a Zwick epic, Defiance is not only filled with layered, tragic characters but also contains a bounty of massively entertaining, beautifully orchestrated action scenes.

The film is unnecessarily slow at points and it drags on with subplots that seem less and less important as the film goes on.

During the last ten years I have walked out of only two films before they have ended.

The two acting leads (Daniel Craig & Liev Schreiber) are very compelling, while none of the auxiliary cast are exceptionally bad.

Defiance is a very mediocre and uninspiring film that lacks any real thought or emotion.

Don't waste your time and money .

as empty and lifeless as it is.

It's a superb film with a nice balance of heavy hitting action and intense drama, but if that's not enough to make you want to see it, just the fact that these on screen heroes existed in real life definitely make it worth the watch.

Yet this does not diminish the tale, and taken at face value, it is a compelling 137 minutes of cinema.

At the heart of both of these were interesting ideas, gripping stories and enthralling characters.

Ho hum.

However, that scene also served as a point of comparison where every subsequent dull scene left me wondering how a movie can have such great and poor writing in the same film.

defiance dares to bore .

Waaaaaay too slow for me.....

What's unfortunate is that Defiance tells a fascinating story that has been lost amongst the more popular stories that have come out of this time period.

Gags like that one are spliced frequently to relive the tedium of nothing happening.

Another performance is that of the story which is gripping as these people are relatable as we have all heard stories about the Jews in World war 2 and we can only imagine how it could have felt and with the setting the story is good throughout.

I'm biased, though -- I read the Peter Duffy book "Bielski Brothers" soon after it was released ("Defiance" is based on a different book), and I found the real story even more compelling than the Hollywood version.

Worth watching!

Because we're in this Bielski resistance camp for the bulk of the picture the drama focuses on little things, little occurrences and strife and the power games between other members in the group (or one member) as opposed to what the film appears to be in the trailer as a riveting action movie.

I have to say that I find Zwick's films usually well made but too didactic but this one had little or no message.

) to include this in the movie might have made a really interesting plot line, instead we have a huge confusion.

Again, it's not an horrible movie or one that I hated watching, it's just a big waste of, what seems to be in its core, a great, interesting and fascinating story.

Before watching this film all I knew was that it was a world war 2 film with Daniel Craig and Liv Schreiber in it and I was interested and I must say it was an enjoyable experience.

Around the beginning, I was already intrigued, seeing some gripping scenes, such as the brothers finding family members slain on the farm.

Zwick knows very well how to combine action with intense drama & he has maintained justice to it in this film also.

Too much drama with clichéd, inciting, commercial, and confusing dialogs that simply don't make any rational or logical sense, and are sprinkled rather generously all over to create sensation.

Director Edward Zwick has to keep this two narrative strands going but the film is too disjointed and trite.

Its not brainless by any means, the movie has a profound and compelling story.

I spent the whole film hoping and trying to find any signs of an enjoyable film.

Historical war drama with a heavy action slant as per usual, "Defiance" has all the elements that anyone who's enjoyed Zwick's past work is looking for: lush cinematography, gripping action and a strong leading male role played by an elite actor.

This is a gripping, incredible true story of bravery and responsibility, as well as human failings and flaws.

I wish Zwick would have invented Nazi attacks, or at least made Tuvia's experience more suspenseful.

Echoing his previous features which range from being overtly action-based to a much more Defiance¬-like "drama with action" stories, this outing for the film-maker pulls out all the stops in crafting somewhat exciting depictions of gunfights and air raids that never take things too far into the glamorised Hollywood domain.

(Indeed, it is rather amazing that the Nazis were so slow to realize that he was running an underground railroad for escapees from the ghettos and that even after they finally caught on, they never caught him.

If there is any fault to be found it would be with the familiar story of Jews in a struggle, but as I motioned it is still a compelling tale.

It is thrilling, captivating, gut wrenching and the truth of it makes it all the more so.

Direction, DP, editing, etc.For me, I truly believe the WWII Nazi, concentration camp, killing Jews, theme has been sooooo overplayed in America to the point its cliché'.

He's certainly one of the most infuriating--time and again discovering fascinating stories buried in the corners of history, only to completely botch their revelation.

In fact, the most fascinating aspect of the film is watching a group of 3 expand into a self-sufficient society.

We're into a generation of viewers whose knowledge of WWII comes from the History Channel and boring school teachers; they're more familiar with al Qaeda, Iraq and maybe the 1990 Gulf War.

One of the worst movies I have seen in a long time.

Just bear through the movie's lulls and you'll be rewarded.

This was a compelling film about a group of WWII Jewish refugees hiding out in the forests of Nazi occupied Poland (present day Belarus).

The rest of the casting is rather bland and bleak, so you will hardly remember anybody there.

Of course the masses will be susceptible to the propaganda in this film as the average movie goer doesn't question the validity of what they see on the screen.

It's entertaining and the movie tells an important story of survival against all odds that definitely deserves to be told.

Most impressive achievement is that the director managed to keep the audiences on the edge of their conscience and compassion for 2 hours and still entertained, bringing in positive messages.

The story is disturbingly profound and compelling.

An Intense Movie .

Since its based on real live events, watching this movie becomes even more enjoyable experience.

Way too uninteresting to make an impact on any level.

As for "Defiance" except for the propaganda spin it's a pretty good movie.

The Germans were simply made as the empty from afar.

Is Edward Zwick the dullest filmmaker in America?

Not a brainless action movie, enough of a story to make it memorable, and fast-paced enough to keep me from becoming bored.

All in all, an intense drama with some cool action, even if it changes facts a bit...

While the story of the Belski brother's is amazing, 'Defiance' offers an engaging, if somewhat overstretched, adaptation that does not leave the afterthought it set out to.

The drama was intense and bleak at time, with fine performances by Liev Schreiber (especially) and Daniel Craig, who I commend for going in the opposite direction from the Bond films.

If you can overlook that simplistic bias and a few other flaws, it's a very enjoyable film.

This is a movie that can waste you precious time and leave you with a good impression.

The whole thing carries on in a wholly predictable manner to its obvious and unsatisfying conclusion.

Intense well done battle scenes and a story that remains surprisingly historically accurate.

Significant because, frankly, it's one of the only things in the picture that comes across with conviction and certainty that doesn't feel like a checklist (save, of course, for that "twist" ending where Zus comes to the aide of Tuvia that has been done in more movies than I can think of, however minorly rousing it is).

This movie was fantastic and I highly recommend it for anyone.

Zwick is a good director, he knows how to film an action scene and he made a fast paced film.

Its not brainless by any means, the movie has a profound and compelling story.

But the dull, slow-pacing, episodic way that Zwick tells the story is enough to bore you to tears.

The brothers power struggle is believable and compelling.

My only criticism is that it was a bit slow in places.

And when they're not, they're very boring.

One Of The Dullest Films Ever .

I watch a lot of foreign films, so I'm usually the last to say a film is boring b/c it's slow--instead, I'd say the poor script, uneven acting, and terrible casting is what did it in.