One of several problems with the new Holocaust movie "
Those who didn't buy Craig as a Jewish tough guy in "Munich" will probably find him similarly unpersuasive in this movie — especially since his character has a brother played by the emphatically non-blond
You might think this heroic tale would be hard to screw up in a movie, and of course you'd be wrong. Director
The movie has some spirited raids and skirmishes, some rousing Nazi wipeouts, and an appropriately thunderous bomber attack. But we seem to spend most of our time hanging around in the woods watching the soggy interactions of such stock characters as the gruff-but-kindly rabbi and the fiery young socialist. This allows us lots of time (in a film that runs well over two hours) to note a certain lack of rigor in maintaining the period flavor of the dialogue. (The script is by Zwick and Clayton Frohman.) For example, when Tuvia insists that more threatened Jews be rescued from the surrounding countryside and brought to safety in the forest — despite the already pressing shortage of food — Zus looks at him and clucks, "So now you're Moses, huh?"
There are also some startling moments of directorial overreach: When Craig rides into one scene mounted on a pure-white horse, it feels like we've suddenly been transported into a previously unknown chronicle of Narnia. (He later shoots the beast for meat, which is more like it.) And when some female refugees arrive in the camp, you wonder if it's really necessary for the despairing cry of "More mouths to feed!" to be answered with a lusty "More young bodies to keep us warm!"
Craig and Schreiber are of course fine actors, and they manage to carve out moments of emotion amid the narrative drift here. But like most of the rest of the cast, they don't belong in this movie. You may feel the same.
("Defiance" is a Paramount Vantage picture. Paramount and MTV are both subsidiaries of Viacom.)
Check out Kurt Loder's review of "Good," also new in theaters this week.
Check out everything we've got on "Defiance."
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