Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer
What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer
Persecuted church—Why and how should we pray for suffering Christians? Answer
|Featuring||Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, George MacKay, Tomas Arana, Rolandas Boravskis, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein, Iddo Goldberg, Iben Hjejle, Jacek Koman, Mark Margolis, Jodhi May, Sam Spruell, Sakalas Uzdavinys, Markus von Lingen, Mia Wasikowska|
“Blood Diamond,” “The Last Samurai”
|Producer||The Bedford Falls Company, Grosvenor Park Productions, Pistachio Pictures, Alex Boden, Pieter Jan Brugge, Alisa Katz, Andrew Litvin, Troy Putney, Roland Tec, Gary Tuck, Edward Zwick|
“Courage is the ultimate weapon.”
This film is based on the book Defiance: the Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec.
With the harsh backdrop of the actual forest this true story took place in, exceptional performances by Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Allan Corduner and Alexa Davalos, and a musical score full of power and emotion by James Newton Howard, “Defiance” delivers a compelling message for the world today.
As most anyone knows, it takes months and sometimes years to produce a film from concept to premiere. At the time Edward Zwick and Clayton Frohman took to turning the book Defiance: the Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec into a motion picture, Israel was still doing it’s best to keep the peace with the territory known az Gaza and the terrorist faction known as Hamas. It is my personal belief, that God has allowed this film to arrive on the scene with His perfect timing. For it is now, when Israel is defending that which God has given her with His blessing, that a curious and sometimes hateful world needs to know the history and the warnings from it’s past.
Anti-Semitism is a cruel action born out of fear and propaganda, and, as history is known to repeat itself, let us not forget its fruits. Remember that fear begets hatred, and hatred begets violence, and violence will not just destroy but destroy utterly. Watch “Defiance” with that one concept in mind, if for nothing else.
Backstory from “Defiance” Web site, an excellent source of information:
Jews were always the minority in Germany, with different customs and traditions, which made them targets for prejudice. When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in the 1930’s, he took this prejudice to an extreme. Hitler blamed the Jews for the country losing World War 1, and economic hardships that had unemployment at 50%. Hitler established laws that prevented Jews from receiving an education beyond the age of 14, and he made it illegal for any Jewish citizen to practice law, medicine or journalism.
This was only the beginning.
When Germany started World War 2, Hitler had ambitions to take over the world, and attacking all Jews who he felt were an “inferior species.” Before World War 2, there were 9 million Jews living in Europe. By the end of the war, 6 million were killed.
Although in the mind of Hitler, he believed he could erase the Jewish peoples from existence, and even in the mind of terrorist groups like Hamas and Al Queda, they believe they can rule the world and wipe Christians from the face of the Earth, God’s promises are clear and His word never fails.
It is unclear as to whether the Bielski brothers were thinking this when they found themselves in the Lipinaska forests of their native home, involuntarily charged with the care of nearly 1000 people in the fall of 1941, but for Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) it would change his life forever and make him a better man for eternity. For his brothers, Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Asael (Jamie Bell), it caused conflict within their dynamic, but ultimately brought them closer together as family and as men.
“Defiance” takes us through the beginnings of the formation of the forest camp society which eventually turned into the largest known group of survivors of Jews evading Hitler’s army. This is not only a story of the struggles of the group, but the personal story of the brothers, their different, sometimes clashing personalities, and the hard decisions that must be made in the face of survival.
As in any story dealing with war and it’s violence, this is not a movie for children. It is an adult drama dealing with adult situations. There are very disturbing (sometimes actual footage) of people getting beaten, shot or stabbed. There is a scene showing dozens upon dozens of dead bodies piled high in ditches dug for mass graves. There are also scenes that children are not prepared to deal with on an emotional level, such as hard decisions made as to whether it is right to shoot a man in self defense in order to survive or out of blind revenge, or to look away as an angry crowd beats a German soldier to death. There are a couple of kisses shared between people who love one another, and one scene where Tuvia and his soon to be wife, Lilka (Alexa Davalos) are shown under some blankets, which infers they have just made love.
There are several uses of the f-word and a sprinkling of swear words such as bi**h,a**, a**holes and a reference to balls, in speaking of the male anatomy. There are ruthless men, as well as honorable ones. The ruthless are often shown taking sexual advantage of the women or reference to have done so. The act of sex outside of marriage is given the nick name of “taking a forest wife,” although marriages are shown to have taken place and are done so in a reverent manner.
For all the violence and realistic portrayals of battle and bloodshed, in order to survive, “Defiance” has a basic moral strength, and that is that it is rooted in Jewish laws, customs and values. It underscores beautifully that the basic joys of life and faith can survive, because a society, no matter how small or large, depends on God as their strength.
Tuvia’s speech to this band of survivors said it best. He says to use your strength in God as your Jawbone, as David’s slingshot, like the Maccabees, they were brave men and women fighting for their freedom to exist. He urges them, even though they are being forced to live like animals, not to become animals—not to take a life in revenge, for their act of revenge would be to live. As every day is an act of freedom, because they choose to live. To show compassion, take only what is needed, and only from people who have enough to share it. In a time where there was no law, the Law of God, the Word of God is what would keep them human. Sacrifice for the good of all. The strong must always take care of the weak. They moved through the forest, just before Passover to evade the German Army and certain death, taking their cue from Moses, who moved the Children of Israel out of Egypt at Passover, so that Pharaoh could not overtake them.
For all that Hitler tried to accomplish, he was brought to his own demise, and not because of any man-based act, but from the hand of God. At the conclusion of “Defiance,” it states that these 1200 souls survived in the forests for two more years. And out of those valiant and brave people, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren number in the 10’s of thousands.
God’s commandments shall always endure, make no doubt about that.
God formally gave His Covenant with Abram in Genesis 15:7-12, and universally to all in Genesis 22:18 and 28:14. His word is clear on two points. One is that He has given the Land of Israel to his chosen peoples, and two is that He will curse those who curse Israel (Genesis 12:3; 27:29 and Numbers 24:8-9).
These promises are not just found in the Old Testament, but are found in Matthew 25:31-46, as well. God’s blessing or cursing of the peoples of the world, largely is determined by their behavior toward Israel. Jesus’ statements in Matthew 25 promise blessing to saved Gentiles who will stand with Israel. Also, the fact that God promised to give Abraham’s physical descendants the land Canaan forever and the covenant for an everlasting covenant demands that Israel never perish as a people. This divine covenant is not dependent on human obedience, but on the faithfulness of God and His Word.
Take note of what “Defiance” says about human history, for we may be seeing the very tip of this ugly iceberg, even now as Christians throughout the world have been subject to everything from making it illegal to pray in public schools to beheading for practicing Christianity in other countries.
Let us not forget, that it doesn’t take much to change the tide under the rule of a dictator in a foreign country or even the misrepresentation of laws in our own land.
Let this film, and others like it who are not afraid to relate the real story, warn that in the human heart it is possible to allow history to repeat itself. God alerts us in His Word, as well as thousands of true accounts that can be researched on fine Web sites such as “A Teacher’s Guide To The Holocost” at:
I recommend we all read, study and commit them to memory… lest we forget.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.