Release Date: December 31, 2008
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, November 11, 2008
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No, I really think I have the weirder head.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
48/98 David Mumpower World War II was an unpleasant time for certain religious factions. What a revelation. Seriously, it's an amazing story of perseverance, but just read the wiki entry about the story instead.
106/196 Max Braden Great cinematography, but for the most part an average survival film. Go watch Red Dawn and Schindler's List.

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What do you get when you mix James Bond, Cotton Weary and Billy Elliot? Apparently, you have the ingredients for a World War II film about brothers fleeing the Nazis with the brothers played by Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell.

Based on the book "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans," the film recounts the true story of three Jewish brothers who escaped Nazi Poland and found sanctuary in the Belarusian forest. Escape was not their endgame; instead, they helped form a resistance to the spreading Nazi occupations. Under the leadership of Tuvia and enduring the conflicts between the brothers, the resistance actively sought to rescue Jews who were in hiding or had been captured.

The talented Edward Zwick both directed Defiance and co-wrote the screenplay. Zwick has proven that he can portray a war in a setting that is realistic and moving with comelling human elements, similar to what he achieved with Glory. As evidenced with two underrated films, The Siege and Courage Under Fire, he also is not one to shy away from potentially controversial topics. Saying that Defiance is in capable hands is an understatement.

Along with the talent behind the camera, Defiance boasts a cast of strong, yet sometimes underrated actors. As the eldest brother and leader, Tuvia, Craig gets to step beyond the action realm of James Bond that he deftly conquered in Casino Royale. Similarly, Schreiber can continue to solidify his place as reliably persuasive actor and Bell can tap into the charisma he showed in Billy Elliot.

Just like any film that retells actual events, Defiance will need to endure the scrutiny of historians about any liberties taken with the story. The most glaring omission stems from recent unfortunate events about one of the brothers. In reality, there were actually four Bielski brothers but the youngest and last surviving brother is currently under house arrest with his wife for fraud commited against a Polish woman. Despite the Internet Movie Database showing a young actor, George MacKay, playing this part,several reports have announced that the role has been completely removed from the film.

If the film can overcome the controversy about historical accuracies and deliver a gritty, realistic depiction of WWII like Saving Private Ryan, Defiance could be a serious Oscar contender. (Daron Aldridge/BOP)

Vital statistics for Defiance
Main Cast Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell
Supporting Cast Alexa Davalos, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein
Director Ed Zwick
Screenwriter Ed Zwick, Clay Frohman
Distributor Paramount Vantage
Screen Count 2
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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