Defiance

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(2008) ★★★

BBC2: Saturday 12 September, 10.30pm

Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell as the Bielski brothers, Belorussian Jews who took to the woods when the Nazis first entered Soviet territory in the summer of 1941: SS death squads are working with local police to round up all Jews for execution or deportation. A long-untold true story from Glory man Edward Zwick, shedding harsh light on one of WWII’s neglected partisan battlegrounds.

Given its unusual pedigree it’s an oddly conventional combat picture, lacking the verve and style of Paul Verhoeven’s wartime resistance tribute, Black Book. Liev Schreiber in particular comes on like Charles Bronson’s Belorussian cousin: “We are the Bielskis!” he shouts, firing off a machine gun as he strides through town.

“We’ll be back!” History suggests these men never sought glory – merely survival, and the right to live as free human beings. Whatever its faults (and none is fatal), Defiance is at least about something that really matters. Unlike Quentin Tarantino’s inglorious trivialisation of Europe’s darkest hours, Defiance plays it Come and See straight.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 137min

IMDB – Defiance

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Other Showings Time & Date
BBC2 Scotland Sunday, 13 September at 12:30AM