Defiance – Day Eight – #40movies40days

0204_defianceI chose this film, again thanks to NetFlix Instant Streaming.  When Defiance came out I didn’t see it.  It got mixed to positive reviews and did only middling box office.  The film got one Academy  Award Nomination for Best Score.  I am big Daniel Craig fan and decided to give a chance.

Defiance tells the remarkable story of Jewish Partisan Fighters who survived World War II by living on the run in a vast forest in Poland/Belarus.  Eventually, the forest community numbered 1,200 men, women and children.  The partisans survived for several years only losing 50 people to sickness, old age or combat.

One brother, Tuvia, played by Daniel Craig, is a Power of Conscience character.  He establishes and enforces the moral order and the rule of law in the ragtag community.  Another brother, Zus, played by Liev Schreiber, is a Power of Will character.  He is a warrior who believes only in force, strength and might makes right.

The two brothers clash over authority and strategy.  Zus joins the Russian Army Fighters in the forest.  The two come together when the Russian Army retreats in the face of a planed air and ground attack by the Germans.  Zus joins Tuvia and together they defeat the advancing enemy.

defianceDefiance suffers for having no specific individual antagonist– only the general looming threat of the Germans.  Schindler’s List is a much more effective and powerful film for setting up the personal dynamic between Oskar Schindler and Amon Goeth.  For most of the movie Tuvia’s only personal antagonist, his brother, is on the other side of the forest.  Defiance has too little focused personal conflict and is very episodic.  It doesn’t engage emotionally.  I felt interestd but curiously detached in viewing the film.

I guess the thing that struck me most strongly in Defiance was the terrible privation the forest dwellers endured.  Things we take for granted like hot water, sufficient food, clean drinking water and a warm dry place to sleep are impossible and unobtainable luxuries.  The terrible sorrow in the loss of loved ones and the physical suffering in the film reminded me of what many people in Japan (and Haiti) must be enduring right now.  We should all be grateful for the small luxuries we too often take for granted.

Here’s the best place to make a contribution to Japanese Earthquake Relief Efforts:

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