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DVD Review by David Blackwell
DETAILS:   136 minutes, audio commenatry, three featurettes
VIDEO:   1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:   English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles:   English, French, Spanish
STUDIO:  Paramount Vantage/ Grosvenor Park/ Bedford Falls
DVD RELEASE DATE:   6-2-2009

Daniel Craig is a character actor- he brings emotional depth to any role whether it is James Bond or Tuvia Bielski (in his latest film DEFIANCE).   DEFIANCE is based on a true story about the Bielski brothers who hide up to 1200 Jews in the Belarusian Forrest during World War 2.    The film focuses on the struggles the brothers had and the film they helped protect.   They had to deal with the invading Germans (intent on killing all Jews they found), hunger, disease, and even problems with each other.   Tuvia, Zus (Live Schreiber), and Alexia (James Bell) were brothers who were united and sometimes divided by the situations the war for survival put them in.  Zus ended up joining a Russian militia while Tuvia looked to protect the Jews under his care in a village they created more than once.   Craig and Schreiber even get into character by using the accents for the region.


It is nice to see one of my favorite hottie actresses Alexa Davalos in another film (the last time I saw her was in THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK).   DEFIANCE has some fantastic photography and sometimes it plays like a thriller as the Bielskis must move the Jews at times when their camp is discovered.   Even a wedding is intercut with an ambush on a German convoy.    The film works best when it focuses on the characters and grips you despite having a Hollywood ending.   Still DEFIANCE is a better World War 2 film than VALKYRIE (Sorry, Tom Cruise).    The Bielskis never asked to be recognized for the lives they saved, but this film helps make sure their story is never forgotten. 

Audio commentary by Director Edward Zwick is very matter of fact like he is telling a story to a friend.
RETURN TO THE FOREST: THE MAKING OF DEFIANCE-   cast and crew talk about the amking of the film in addition to showing some behind-thescenes stuff (like how they made the snow and the Zus head butting scene (where Liev Schreiber head butts a rubber tree).
CHILDREN OF THE OTRIAD: THE FAMILIES SPEAK-  the child and grand children of Tuvia Bielski talk about the Bielski brothers and give out various stories mixed in with homde video footage from family gatherings.
Also included is a two minute featurette that shows the photos Edward Zwick took of the survivors of the Bielski Otriad.
FINAL ANALYSIS:   DEFIANCE is a fantastic tale about brothers in a story from World War 2 you never hear about where the Jews survived in the forest and fought back.
this DVD review is (c)6-1-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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