When I saw that "Defiance" is a movie directed by Edward Zwick, the maker of some brilliant flicks like "Glory," "The Last Samurai" and "Blood Diamond," I couldn't resist picking it up. Here's the story, not that I am the best person for story telling but I hope you'll be kind enough to still read on.
In 1941, in an area that we now know as Belarus, Jews are being persecuted mercilessly by the Hiter regime. Tuvia Bielski (starring Daniel Craig) is believed to have saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews by keeping them safe in the woods, which came to be christened as "Jerusalem in the woods." Tuvia's brothers are Asael, (starring Jamie Bell), Aron (starring George Mackay) and Zus (Liev Schreiber).
First, the brothers avenge the death of their parents who are killed ruthlessly by the Nazis. Later, they help to save many Jews who were hiding in the forest, not knowing where to go or where their next meal would come from. Even a drop of water is not there for all of them to drink. The brothers think through the hopeless situation and become leaders who take charge to do what is required to stay alive. They create a system whereby every Jew is assigned a task to do and a role to fulfill. They lay down a hard rule - no babies on the settlement because it is no decent place for a baby to grow up.
The tensions between the brothers are played out very well by Craig and Schreiber because they are such opposites in attitude, passion and values.Their story is one of courage, not victimization. Typically, most real life stories on the Holocaust portrayed the horrors that the Jews went through and how they were victimized by it. This movie showed how a band of brothers became warriors, though they could have chosen to feel helpless and victimized by the turn of events around them. Somewhere, it seemed as though Zwick was getting lost in a melodrama of his own making, not necessarily that of the brothers.
Still, I 'd say that what the Bielski brothers did by saving and empowering so many Jews deserves to be remembered and documented. It tells us that even when we face the worst situations in life, we can deal with it by choosing a different route of action, one in which we don't prepare ourselves to be victims.