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.