review by Neo

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Year: 2008

Box Office: US$46 million

Director: Edward Zwick

Producer: Edward Zwick, Pieter Jan Brugge

Writer: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwick

Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, George MacKay

Genre: Survival/Nazi/War

Tagline: A heartfelt story of survival and human courage…

Review by Neo: Daniel Craig has always been noted as a character actor, just a glimpse of what the layers he added to the recent James Bond franchise, and it requires no more quotation. In this film, Craig carries the film on both of his shoulders and that extremely humane feel about him, allows the audience to understand and feel for the situation the characters are surviving within. It is easily an achievement whenever a filmmaker takes the audience on a journey and the ability to capture our attention right from the word goes, is not to be understated. For the Jews, living through the Hitler era was really all about fighting for survival and even the opportunity to actually attempt to survive requires immense degree of luck. What this film is able to express is the underlying human spirit, human emotions and it should be noted about the difficulties of creating a Utopian world and the importance of leadership in order to survive.

The movie goes like this, Daniel Craig and his brothers are in the middle of an German Nazi invasion which led to the death of the rest of their family. From there the journey of survival in the forest begins and each day, there are more and more survivors joining the forces in the forest. Until eventually a village of people, women, children and men and as there is no such thing as a Utopian world, things goes nasty both internally and externally.

Directed by Edward Zwick (the person behind the gritty Blood Diamond), it is probably safe to say that Zwick rarely puts a foot wrong and the way he focused on the building of the village, as well as the blossoming romance between Alexa Davalos (The Mist) and Daniel Craig is both believable and a joy to endure. The final sequence is just almost pitch perfect, by the time the film ends, it is impossible for any reasonable warm-blooded human beings to not feel for the situations, and perhaps a real triumph of raw human courage and persistent An inspirational story, based on a true story and it is not since Saving Private Ryan that a World War I or II epic have worked so seamlessly well.

Daniel Craig is one heck of a good actor, his ability to draw the audience to focus on him is a special ability. It is that ability that allows the audience to relate and look into the depth of the conflicted character that he is trying to portray. Craig is a leader and his steer presence is crucial to the survival all everyone. Craig made the audience believe that if he was to disappear, the whole Utopian world they have soar to survival will be in shattering pieces of death and blood. His chemistry with the beautiful and stunningly hot, Alexa Davalos is an item to enjoy and embrace. Not to mention, his brotherly love between him and Liev Schreiber is another example of perfect casting. Not to forget, the much missed Jamie Bell (from Billy Elliot fame) shows maturity since those days and certainly a performance worthy of the potential he have displayed since childhood. As mentioned before, Alexa completes the movie with some much needed eye candy and some steady and reliable acting potential to add to the pros. Likewise, his brother (played by Liev Schreiber) fits in his role as one with strong values, ego, cold, yet loving character perfectly and certainly is an asset to the film.

All in all, Defiance has all the makings and workings of a great movie. With pitch perfect casting, believable storyline, interesting historical backdrop, entertaining gun fights and chase sequence and finishing off with an emotional punch. It is needless to say that this film comes highly recommended and most probably one of the better movies of 2008. A satisfying film that works, characters that audience can relate to, director of Blood Diamond have continued his streak of good film making. Since I will never lose something without fighting hard for it, Defiance works for me and perhaps will do the same for you as well … (Neo 2009)

I rate it 9/10

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