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"DEFIANCE"
(2008) (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Extreme Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A quartet of brothers tries to save themselves as well as a growing number of Jewish refugees who join them hiding in the Belorussian woods from the Nazis during WWII.
PLOT:
For the Bielski brothers -- Tuvia (DANIEL CRAIG), Zus (LIEV SCHREIBER), Asael (JAMIE BELL) and Aron (GEORGE MacKAY) -- the woods of their Belorussian homeland have always offered them protection from those after them. Their experience hiding there comes to good use when the Nazis and their sympathizers and helpers, such as a local police officer, start rounding up and killing Jews, including the brothers' father and others on their farm.

While Zus would rather their rebel contingent simply consist of just them, Tuvia knows they must help others, and soon they're joined by a growing number of refugees, such as older school teacher Shimon (ALLAN CORDUNER) and intellectual Isaac (MARK FEURSTEIN), who help them build a settlement in the woods.

With time passing and their wives dead, Zus develops an interest in Bella (IBEN HJEJLE) and Tuvia does the same with Lilka (ALEXA DAVALOS), while young bachelor Asael finds himself falling for Chaya (MIA WASIKOWSKA). Yet, Tuvia must also contend with challenges to his unofficial leadership of the settlement, not only from the likes of Arkady (SAM SPRUELL), a hunter who starts to get power hungry, but also Zus who thinks they should be off killing Nazis and their associates rather than hiding from them.

Accordingly, he ends up going off with Russian officer Viktor Panchenko (RAVIL ISYANOV) his right-hand man, Gramov (ROLANDAS BORAVSKIS), and other guerilla fighters. As the months wear on and a bitter winter sets in, and facing repeated encounters with German forces, Tuvia does what he can to keep order in the settlement, food in the refugees' bellies, and hope in their hearts that they will survive and prevail.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, WWII movies, or the real life story behind the film, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DANIEL CRAIG plays a smuggler who returns to his family's farm following a Nazi massacre only to find that all but his brothers have also been killed. After getting revenge on the man directly responsible for that, he leads his brothers into the nearby forest for protection. There, he feels responsible to help others and thus clashes with Zus over allowing other survivors to join them. While he'd rather flee than fight, he does the latter when necessary. He drinks some and has sex with Lilka.
  • LIEV SCHREIBER plays his brother who doesn't share most of that philosophy and would rather take the fight to the Nazis and their collaborators. Accordingly, he eventually breaks ranks with his brothers and joins the Russian forces. He uses profanity and drinks.
  • JAMIE BELL plays their younger brother caught between their differences, although he sides with Tuvia. He also finds himself drawn to Chaya, and drinks some, all while dealing, like the others, with their tenuous situation.
  • ALEXA DAVALOS plays the woman drawn to Tuvia with whom she has sex.
  • IBEN HJEJLE plays the woman who becomes involved with Zus and she uses sex to snag him as her protector and lover.
  • MIA WASIKOWSKA plays the young woman who becomes Asael's wife.
  • ALLAN CORDUNER plays a teacher who joins the forest camp as a survivor.
  • MARK FEURSTEIN plays another survivor and newcomer to the forest camp. He's an intellectual, and thus has to learn how to be handy in construction and such, and plays chess and debates with Shimon.
  • RAVIL ISYANOV plays a Russian officer who accepts Zus into their operation of attacking and battling the Germans. He drinks.
  • ROLANDAS BORAVSKIS plays his questionable right-hand man who also drinks and appears to be an anti-Semite.
  • SAM SPRUELL plays one of the camp refugees who becomes power-hungry, defiant, and questions Tuvia's leadership.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama/action pic. Profanity consists of at least 6 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sex is implied but not seen, a trench full of nude and dead bodies is seen, but from such a distance that few if any explicit details are observed, some women are seen in wet and clingy dresses or slips while bathing, and a woman sexually comes on to a man (including putting his hand on her clothed breast) in order to receive his protection.

    Violence includes war-related deaths and injuries, executions and murders, fighting, the aftermath of unseen deadly violence, and there's a reference to a past unseen rape. Various instances of that has bloody results and there are some disturbing images (a mass grave), and that along with moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers, especially those sensitive about the Holocaust.

    Some of the action might be enticing for some kids to imitate, bad attitudes are obviously present, as is all sorts of tense family material (including that related to various familial deaths). Various characters drink and some appear intoxicated, while some smoking occurs.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some handheld camera footage from time to time in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Zus and Tuvia share a bottle of liquor.
  • Tuvia and another man have vodka. Moments later, that man shares his bottle with a police officer (who now works with the Nazis), and that man shares it with his subordinates.
  • Zus wakes up holding a bottle of liquor that he then shares with Tuvia.
  • Some Nazis have some liquor right before they're attacked.
  • Zus drinks and shares his flask with Bella.
  • We see that the refugees have a still in their camp, and they allow a boy to drink some liquor. Asael takes that away, but then drinks some to get up the courage to ask Chaya to marry him.
  • Tuvia drinks (presumably vodka).
  • Zus and Viktor drink, with the latter telling the former that at least Zus drinks like a Russian.
  • A man drinks.
  • Tuvia drinks.
  • Miscellaneous Russians drink.
  • Viktor and Gramov drink, appear a bit intoxicated, and want Zus to join them, but he declines.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A boy comes across a trench of nude and dead bodies. There are many, but the view is distant, so little to no details can be seen.
  • A man jokes with a police officer that the latter should clean up the "cow sh*t" on his farm.
  • We see blood on a wall when Tuvia shoots a Nazi helper and his adult sons, as well as blood on the hands of the wife/mother.
  • Zus learns from others who've arrived at their camp that his wife and child are now dead. He nearly vomits from that, and then repeatedly bangs his head against a tree until Tuvia stops him (we see a stream of blood on Zus' head, and later there's a lot more dried blood on his face).
  • A Nazi relieves himself along the side of the road, unknowingly doing so on Zus who's hiding below him (we see the stream hitting Zus).
  • We see a dead and bloody farmer hanging in his barn with the sign "Jew Lover" on him. The wife is in shock, and we later briefly see the end of his burial.
  • We see a person's toes that appear to be black from frostbite or other exposure malady.
  • We see some blood on a wall during a shootout.
  • Zus is upset that Gramov is an anti-Semite who beat a man because Gramov didn't want to "sh*t" in the same hole as a Jew. We see the man whose face is fairly bloody.
  • We see that Asael has a black eye (presumably from Arkady hitting him -- not seen).
  • Tuvia has a bloody nose following a German air attack on the camp.
  • Some people are bloody during a gun battle.
  • Asael has some blood on his face following a battle.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of the Nazis, along with their helpers and sympathizers, obviously have bad attitudes for rounding up and killing Jews.
  • A man twice refers to what's presumably his wife as a "bitch."
  • Zus isn't happy as ever more refugees continue arriving (because that makes it harder for him and his brothers to survive due to being responsible for feeding and protecting all of them).
  • A man who helps Tuvia (giving him food and a pistol) asks why it's so hard being friends with a Jew.
  • Zus and his men steal from locals (usually Nazi sympathizers or helpers) for food and supplies.
  • Zus stating that the policy of diplomacy is "sh*t" and that they should kill all from whom they steal (rather than let them go and run the risk of having their whereabouts revealed).
  • One refugee, who's been exerting his growing power, is upset with his food rations, and then punches Asael who tries to intervene. Both pull their knives, but Tuvia shows up and puts an end to that.
  • Zus is upset that Gramov is an anti-Semite who beat a man because Gramov didn't want to "sh*t" in the same hole as a Jew. We see the man whose face is fairly bloody.
  • Arkady and his followers become increasingly defiant of Tuvia's rule and mean toward others in the camp.
  • Despite Zus saying they have to help Tuvia and the refugees, Viktor says he and his soldiers are leaving, and that Zus will be executed if he doesn't go with them.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Zus and Asael hide during an unseen Nazi attack, and then return to their farm home to find their father, others, and various farm animals dead on the ground.
  • Tuvia hides up in a barn as a police officer and his men (all Nazi helpers) arrive when Tuvia is meeting with a man who covertly helps him.
  • Tuvia holds a pistol on a police officer (who rounds up Jews for the Nazis and reportedly killed Tuvia's father and others doing so) and his family (two young adult sons and their mother). When one son gets up to rush him, Tuvia shoots that young man dead, does the same to his brother, and then shoots their father who pleads for his life (killing all three). The shocked and grieving mother wants Tuvia to kill her as well, but he doesn't.
  • Two men arrive at the forest camp, holding a rifle on Tuvia and Zus while demanding food, but Zus doesn't back down and instead confronts them.
  • The refugees flee from their camp upon notice that Nazis are approaching. When the latter get to the forest camp, one randomly fires a machine gun, but no one is hit.
  • Zus and Tuvia go out scouting, but then find themselves surrounded at gunpoint by Gramov and his men.
  • Tuvia and Asael convince and then sneak out many Jews from the walled-in ghetto at night, avoiding detection by the nearby Nazis.
  • As the cold winter sets in, the refugees start running out of food. Tuvia then takes his horse, pulls his pistol, and reluctantly shoots it dead (not seen) for food.
  • Lilka goes off to hunt for food with another man in the snowy winter woods. She then heads back by herself, only to encounter a German Shepherd that growls and then runs at her, attacking the bag she's carrying. It then goes at her, but she shoots it dead with a pistol, and then carries the carcass back to the camp.
  • Tuvia gets progressively sicker from typhus.
  • Tuvia shoots Arkady dead and holds his gun on another man to reassert his control of the camp and put an end to Arkady being mean and beating up others.
  • The refugees learn that their camp is going to be attacked in two days, and thus they start their move, but a German spotter plane flies overhead, followed by fighters that shoot machine guns and drop bombs on the camp and those inside it, killing many (from gunfire and resultant explosions, including that of a bunker with many people inside -- only seen from the outside). During this, an explosion knocks Tuvia aside, wounding him.
  • Despite Zus saying they have to help Tuvia and the refugees, Viktor says he and his soldiers are leaving, and that Zus will be executed if he doesn't go with them.
  • Tuvia and his followers encounter a huge marsh, realizing it will be difficult to cross, with the German infantry quickly approaching from behind them. Tuvia has a momentary mental block from this conundrum, prompting Asael to take charge. The refugees, including many old people, then slowly wade through the marsh, sometimes chest high.
  • An older refugee appears to be dying and then does just that.
  • Once they've cleared a marsh and are on dry land, Tuvia and his followers then spot a tank and infantry headed their way (and they're trapped, with the marsh they've just traversed now behind them). The tank and soldiers open fire on them, with them returning fire, and people on both sides are hit. Tuvia and another man then try to outflank the enemy, and Tuvia shoots some soldiers dead with his machine gun, and then uses their larger machine gun to shoot more. The tank then turns its turret toward Tuvia and fires, with him leaping out of the way just in time. Pinned down by it and the approaching soldiers, Tuvia takes cover, but the man with him rushes with a hand grenade toward the tank. Soldiers mow him down before he gets there, and he falls and the grenade goes off. Tuvia appears doomed until Zus and others attack from the other side, shooting many Germans dead, with Zus also tossing a grenade down inside the tank where it explodes.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Machine guns/Explosives/Hand grenades/Knives/Tanks/Fighter planes: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Zus and Asael find a boy hiding under the floor in their farmhouse, scared and armed with a knife.
  • Two men arrive at the forest camp, holding a rifle on Tuvia and Zus while demanding food, but Zus doesn't back down and instead confronts them.
  • Zus and Tuvia go out scouting, but then find themselves surrounded at gunpoint by Gramov and his men.
  • We see various refugees firing guns as target practice.
  • We see Gramov positioning a bomb under a railroad track. He then suddenly jerks and makes a noise, just to scare Zus for laughs.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Why is it so f*cking hard..?" "What the f*ck?" "F*cking sh*t," "Cow sh*t," "Little sh*t," "You worthless piece of sh*t," "The policy of diplomacy is sh*t," "Big sh*t," "Shut up," "Ignore the bitch," "Balls" (testicles), "Or maybe you prefer I shove it up your ass," "You annoy me, therefore I exist," "Wenches" (said playfully), "Your little bitch" and "The village idiot."
  • The action and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Zus spits on or near Tuvia after believing he's beaten him in a fight.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • We see Gramov positioning a bomb under a railroad track. He then suddenly jerks and makes a noise, just to scare Zus for laughs.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and some heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "f" words, 14 "s" words, 1 ass, and 2 uses each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A boy comes across a trench of nude and dead bodies. There are many, but the view is distant, so little to no details can be seen.
  • Bella makes it clear that she wants protection from Zus and thus offers herself to him. He runs his hand along her face and across her lip, while she then takes that hand and places it on her clothed breast to make her intention clear.
  • When more refugees arrive at the camp, one woman complains that means more mouths to feed, while a younger one somewhat suggestively replies it also means more bodies to keep them warm.
  • Among the rules that Tuvia sets for the refugee camp is that pregnancies are forbidden (as they can't afford to have infants on their hands while hiding from the Nazis).
  • We see some women bathing in their dresses and slips (that are then clingy), some of which show a little cleavage.
  • A woman confides in Lilka that she's pregnant (which is against Tuvia's camp rules), but then states that she was raped by a German soldier.
  • Tuvia and Lilka passionately kiss outdoors while clothed.
  • We see Tuvia and Lilka in bed, she reclined on his shirtless chest, with sex implied.
  • SMOKING
  • Some minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in several scenes, while Zus smokes once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see (what's presumably recreated) archival type footage (grainy, monochrome, etc.) of kids being separated from their parents as Nazis capture Jewish families.
  • Zus and Asael hide during an unseen Nazi attack, and then return to their farm home to find their father, others, and various farm animals dead on the ground.
  • A father and another family member (female -- perhaps the mother or a sister) worry about a sick child, and are later seen at the end of burying him (no body is seen).
  • A man twice refers to what's presumably his wife as a "bitch."
  • Tuvia holds a pistol on a police officer (who rounds up Jews for the Nazis and reportedly killed Tuvia's father and others doing so) and his family (two young adult sons and their mother). When one son gets up to rush him, Tuvia shoots that young man dead, does the same to his brother, and then shoots their father who pleads for his life (killing all three). The shocked and grieving mother wants Tuvia to kill her as well, but he doesn't.
  • Zus learns from others who've arrived at their camp that his wife and child are now dead. He nearly vomits from that, and then repeatedly bangs his head against a tree until Tuvia stops him (we see a stream of blood on Zus' head, and later there's a lot more dried blood on his face).
  • Zus and Tuvia believe that Asael is dead after a gun battle with German soldiers, but later find him alive.
  • We see a dead and bloody farmer hanging in his barn with the sign "Jew Lover" on him. The wife is in shock, and we later briefly see the end of his burial.
  • Tuvia learns that his wife was killed a week ago.
  • Chaya worries about her parents who are still stuck in the ghetto, but they're later reunited.
  • Zus punches Tuvia over the latter mentioning the former being in love with Bella. Tuvia then punches him back, Zus throws his body into Tuvia and the two fight, with Zus initially appearing to win while throwing Tuvia about. Tuvia, however, then hits Zus, gains control over his brother, and then raises a large rock over his head to smash into Zus, but Asael yells at him to stop and he does.
  • After that fight and based on their differing views of how they should operate, Zus and Tuvia have a falling out, with Zus leaving the camp (accompanied by others) to join the Russian soldiers.
  • Viktor says his brother was killed in an earlier invasion.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the story.
  • The Holocaust.
  • Zus isn't happy as ever more refugees continue arriving (because that makes it harder for him and his brothers to survive due to being responsible for feeding and protecting all of them).
  • While Zus wants actual revenge, Tuvia says their revenge is living.
  • Zus stating that the policy of diplomacy is "sh*t" and that they should kill all from whom they steal (rather than let them go and run the risk of having their whereabouts revealed).
  • Tuvia gets progressively sicker from typhus.
  • A woman confides in Lilka that she's pregnant (which is against Tuvia's camp rules), but then states that she was raped by a German soldier.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see (what's presumably recreated) archival type footage (grainy, monochrome, etc.) of Jews being captured, dragged, kicked, and shot by Nazis (we see the motion, but most details are obscure at best).
  • A boy comes across a trench of nude and dead bodies. There are many, but the view is distant, so little to no details can be seen (all the result of unseen violence).
  • Tuvia holds a pistol on a police officer (who rounds up Jews for the Nazis and reportedly killed Tuvia's father and others doing so) and his family (two young adult sons and their mother). When one son gets up to rush him, Tuvia shoots that young man dead, does the same to his brother, and then shoots their father who pleads for his life (killing all three). The shocked and grieving mother wants Tuvia to kill her as well, but he doesn't.
  • Zus learns from others who've arrived at their camp that his wife and child are now dead. He nearly vomits from that, and then repeatedly bangs his head against a tree until Tuvia stops him (we see a stream of blood on Zus' head, and later there's a lot more dried blood on his face).
  • We see a montage of Zus dealing with Nazi helpers, shooting one and then another in a different scene (where that man's truck has been set on fire).
  • A Nazi is clotheslined off his motorcycle by Zus and his men who then kick and shoot him dead. With another vehicle approaching, they drag the body off the road and then hide as the Nazis stop to investigate the seemingly abandoned motorcycle. When one officer unknowingly urinates on Zus who's hiding, Zus takes his knife and stabs that man in the crotch. He continues stabbing him as Tuvia slams another Nazi against the side of the car. Zus then grabs a machine gun and shoots several people (including a woman accompanying the men), while Asael shoots a Nazi in the back as he tries to run away. A truckload of German soldiers then arrives, and they open fire on the Jews, with some being hit and killed, including a boy, while the Jews shoot back at them, including Tuvia shooting one and then a large spotlight on the truck.
  • Zus punches a lookout for failing at his job, with Tuvia having to grab Zus and throw him off the man.
  • We see a dead and bloody farmer hanging in his barn with the sign "Jew Lover" on him. The wife is in shock, and we later briefly see the end of his burial.
  • The refugees get into a gun battle (handguns, machine guns, rifles) with Nazis where members of both sides take cover behind trees. During a lull in the action, Zus shoots the farmer (in the arm) who's accompanying the Nazis and tipped them off about the Jews' location.
  • Zus punches Tuvia over the latter mentioning the former being in love with Bella. Tuvia then punches him back, Zus throws his body into Tuvia and the two fight, with Zus initially appearing to win while throwing Tuvia about. Tuvia, however, then hits Zus, gains control over his brother, and then raises a large rock over his head to smash into Zus, but Asael yells at him to stop and he does.
  • The Russians ambush German soldiers, shooting many of them, while Zus also uses a grenade on a truck. After that's finished, Zus walks up to two captured Germans and shoots them in the head, execution style (no blood).
  • As the cold winter sets in, the refugees start running out of food. Tuvia then takes his horse, pulls his pistol, and reluctantly shoots it dead (not seen) for food.
  • Lilka goes off to hunt for food with another man in the snowy winter woods. She then heads back by herself, only to encounter a German Shepherd that growls and then runs at her, attacking the bag she's carrying. It then goes at her, but she shoots it dead with a pistol, and then carries the carcass back to the camp.
  • There's a raid on a police station for medicine and the plan to destroy a radio transmitter. While Tuvia waits in the car, Zus and others enter the building, prompting a shootout (shown in a heavily stylized, somewhat slow-motion fashion) where men on both sides are shot and killed, while Zus is shot and wounded (and the transmitter is smashed and destroyed).
  • One refugee, who's been exerting his growing power, is upset with his food rations, and then punches Asael who tries to intervene. Both pull their knives, but Tuvia shows up and puts an end to that.
  • Zus is upset that Gramov is an anti-Semite who beat a man because Gramov didn't want to "sh*t" in the same hole as a Jew. We see the man whose face is fairly bloody.
  • While intoxicated, Viktor slaps Gramov for being an anti-Semite.
  • We see that Asael has a black eye (presumably from Arkady hitting him -- not seen).
  • Tuvia shoots Arkady dead and holds his gun on another man to reassert his control of the camp and put an end to Arkady being mean and beating up others.
  • A woman confides in Lilka that she's pregnant (which is against Tuvia's camp rules), but then states that she was raped by a German soldier.
  • Various refugees shove and kick a captured German soldier, with the situation progressively getting out of control. With Tuvia looking on, the mob then does more beating and kicking, followed by striking the man with sticks, etc. presumably resulting in his death (not seen).
  • The refugees learn that their camp is going to be attacked in two days, and thus they start their move, but a German spotter plane flies overhead, followed by fighters that shoot machine guns and drop bombs on the camp and those inside it, killing many (from gunfire and resultant explosions, including that of a bunker with many people inside -- only seen from the outside). During this, an explosion knocks Tuvia aside, wounding him.
  • As Tuvia leads the refugees away from their camp that's just been attacked from the air, Asael and others stay behind, awaiting to fight the German infantry headed their way. One such person is then shot, followed by a big gun battle where people on both sides are shot and wounded or killed. Some explosions also blow some of the refugees aside.
  • Once they've cleared a marsh and are on dry land, Tuvia and his followers then spot a tank and infantry headed their way (and they're trapped, with the marsh they've just traversed now behind them). The tank and soldiers open fire on them, with them returning fire, and people on both sides are hit. Tuvia and another man then try to outflank the enemy, and Tuvia shoots some soldiers dead with his machine gun, and then uses their larger machine gun to shoot more. The tank then turns its turret toward Tuvia and fires, with him leaping out of the way just in time. Pinned down by it and the approaching soldiers, Tuvia takes cover, but the man with him rushes with a hand grenade toward the tank. Soldiers mow him down before he gets there, and he falls and the grenade goes off. Tuvia appears doomed until Zus and others attack from the other side, shooting many Germans dead, with Zus also tossing a grenade down inside the tank where it explodes.



  • Reviewed November 14, 2008 / Posted January 16, 2009

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Bennett's War] [Brittany Runs a Marathon] [Don't Let Go] [It Chapter Two]

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