Defy Defiance

When television screens are next to each other – 1,2,3 – as in a gym, a montage of our culture often unfolds before your sweat-cloaked eyes. The sensation of watching, without sound, The Real Housewives of Orange County next to a preview for the new Nazi thriller Defiance, is worth exploring. With only energy for half the project, let’s start with the muscley Defiance.

In Defiance, über WASP James Bond (Daniel Craig) puts on an Eastern European accent and a yarmulke and, without Judy Dench, he nonetheless attacks a bunch of evil-doers while taking breaks to have sex with beautiful women. Out of Conflict Comes Courage, says the trailer. And out of the genocide of six millions comes another Hollywood blockbuster.

In the trailer, the Holocaust is explained to us: For millions, a death sentence, but for 3 brothers, a declaration of war.

In the trailer, we see James Bond running through the woods, using a machine gun to shoot at bad guys, hiding behind a tank as a bomb explodes. The sort of camera work popularized in Rambo and other stories of a muscle-man running through a war-torn country, by himself, to save innocent people.

Out of desperation comes Defiance, says the trailer.

Is there anyone who thinks it a tad bit tacky to use the Holocaust to tell this story? We’ve seen Holocaust comedies, and Holocaust love stories, and Holocaust erotic thrillers, and Tom Cruise Holocaust, but this one seems in worse taste than the rest. Apparently the director is trying to empower a people he believes are often portrayed as meek. But the thing is, these people were systematically rounded up and murdered. A memo was not first distributed. So to suggest that in a tale of systematic slaughter lies the seeds of an action movie is, is beyond offensive. It’s pathetic, and more childish than the children the film seems to target. In endeavoring to present something heroic, instead we get something not merely shallow but false. Even a child can tell you that.

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3 Responses to “Defy Defiance”

  1. Roderick Says:

    “not merely shallow but false.”

    Surely falsity is endemic to historical drama. Events, people, timelines are reworked to serve the author/director/producer’s concerns. What makes this particular movie more egregiously dreadful than the others? The Holocaust miniseries in the 1970s won an Emmy and critical acclaim and yet, according to the NY Times, Elie Wiesel described it as “untrue, offensive, cheap.” There are, it seems, controversies over the historical accuracy of “Defiance” but it’s not clear that historians are agreed about the events themselves.

    I have not seen this movie. It might be dreadful. But I don’t see what in the posted preview makes it so much worse than other WWII films.

    Re Daniel Craig: if Meryl Streep can play a Jewish person in Holocaust, and a Polish person in Sophie’s Choice, and Liam Neeson can play Oskar Schindler, then why shouldn’t Daniel Craig play Tuvia Bielski?

    (The term WASP, of course, is American, denoting a particular American social/ethnic group – we don’t have the term in the UK.)

  2. munch Says:

    there’s no way Holocaust erotic romance or comedy is in better taste than this.

  3. nobody Says:

    actually most of the events in the story are true. the story behind defiance saved 1200 jewish lives during the holocaust. and even if it werent true its still an inspirational story thats at least based on true events to give you a feel for what people went through when their country was going to fucking hell in a hand basket. though some ideas of the movie were most likely fabricated to keep the viewer interested, but then again its a fuckin movie dude!!!

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