Thursday, August 20, 2009


Defiance was one of those movies I put off watching for some reason. I think it was that I had heard so little about it, as though it appeared in my consciousness for a brief moment at the right time for me to put in my Netflix queue, but then disappeared, lost among the detritus of so many other parts of life. Being a huge James Bond fan, I was interested to see Daniel Craig in a different role, but apparently not that interested.

When it did come, Rachel and I were not exactly tripping over ourselves to watch it. We ended up starting it at 8:30 on a Wednesday night simply because we needed to get Nacho Libre by Saturday, which meant we had to watch Defiance. Turns out we were both riveted for the next 2.5 hours.

Defiance is the story of four brothers during WWII. They are Jewish and live in the forest in Belarus along with over a thousand other Jews fleeing the Nazis. Each brother takes a different path, but Daniel Craig ends up leading the community that forms there in the forest. His brother, not quite as nonviolent as Craig, goes and fights with the Russians against the Nazis.

The movie is made all the more incredible by the fact that its based on real events. It is a violent movie, and I wouldn't recommend it for children, but it was fascinating. It brought up so many big questions.

How could anyone seek out and kill other people like that? What happens in the minds of individuals that leads them to be so violent towards one another, especially based on religion? How do people get there?

How does a persecuted people find the strength to carry on? How do they keep from giving up? How does faith keep moving forward? What words do you use to pray when you are watching your family die?

This was a brilliant movie about a heartbreaking truth. I'd recommend it for anyone who enjoys movies that make them wrestle with history, with the sins of our past and the realities of the present.

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