Defiance

Awwwwwww, Motherland…do I have to?


It’s just one of those films you don’t want to bother with. In fact, I will never write another word about movies ever again for the rest of my life.
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Reported on 31st of January, 2009

You don’t want to see movies: this is understandable.

Defiance

31 January 2009 @ AMC Century City 15


-$1.50 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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You have to drive to the theater; find parking, wait in line.  The food is overpriced, and even the sweet stuff is too salty.  The crowds are bad, tend to talk, or worst tell you to shut up if you’re talking (who on earth wants to hear what they’re saying in The Day The Earth Stood Still?).

Then, worst of all, you have to see the movie.  I know that it’s my job to fall on your cinematic grenades, and two weeks ago, I saw Defiance land in the foxhole, and without regard for my psychological well-being, I leapt.  Since then, I haven’t written a word, since it’s just one of those films you don’t want to bother with.  In fact, I will never write another word about movies ever again for the rest of my life.

In my defense, it was a Nazi film, and I had previously vowed to complete the 2008 Nazi septilogy (The Spirit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Unborn, Valkyrie, The Reader, Defiance and Good) when I found out this morning that Good has come and gone after two weeks, having grossed a whopping $53,000.  No way to complete it, and I’m not a little happy about it.  You may not know this, but World War II, Nazis, genocides, it’s a little depressing.  I think I’ll get back to seeing every video game movies ever made. And so I did.

The problem is, that writing about morality is dull. Too bad. You’ve made me see Defiance, and now I’m going to punish you.

Secondly in my defense, it was a 9:35a showing.  9:35!  You feel like you’re going to be arrested just by being there.  Even the mall isn’t open yet.  When you walk out of the theater, you have the whole day ahead of you.  Unless you see Defiance, but at least then, you have the whole evening.

Not in my defense, I hate you for making me see it.

Not really.

No, really.  I do.

Defiance isn’t so much bad as it is evil.  And since I’m getting very close to the realm of this being homework, for you and me, I will be brief.  Even the most non-descript film will have some element of a moral story; Monsters, Inc., is about the effects of forgetting what your job actually does, not what it is, Die Hard: why you shouldn’t trust anyone with an accent, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the inadvisability of making Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  The problem is, that writing about morality is dull.  Too bad.  You’ve made me see Defiance, and now I’m going to punish you.

The story of rebellion in impossible circumstances is not only an interesting one, but an important one.  When faced with certain death, pretty much everyone caves.  I won’t bore you with the details, or depress you with them; if you want to know more, look it up.  From Carthage to Turkey to the Ostland to Rwanda, even when you know to a certainty, without a doubt, then you’re going to die in the next second, you are not going to do anything about it.  Deal with it.

The interesting bit about this depressing notion is that this is the exact opposite of how movies depict our nature.  We fight back.  We’re heroes.  This division between real life and how movies depict it why Defiance is just a shitty film.  What’s more, I can prove it.

Because, and this is the dull part (sorry, one of them) people, once and a while, in real life, do fight back.  The Bielski brothers did, just as Sobibor, a concentration camp, had a full-on rebellion.  The real life stories are not only inspirational, but really cool.  In the case of Sobibor, the plan involved killing SS commanders on a tight timetable.  The first commander had an appointment with the camp’s shoemaker at 1205, they killed him and waited for the next one at 1210.  If not for the famous German punctuality, one of the commanders would have been early or late, seen the bodies being stuffed into their various hiding places, and the plan would have failed.  They were perfectly on time, and it worked.  True story.  No, really, it’s a true story.

The films about both these events botch them in exactly the same way.   In the case of Sobibor (the documentary), the filmmaker has the truly offensive (and you should know by now how hard it is to offend me) gall to ask one of the actual survivors if it ever bothered him to kill another human being.  The man simply looked baffled, and the filmmaker asked again.  I was far too shocked to remember the details of the answers; there aren’t going to be a lot of times when murder is okay – Sobibor and the occupation of Belorussia are going to be two of them.  I can only say this: you’re going to talk about the immorality of murder…now?  Where were you when they were pitching Collateral Damage?

This is an equally confusing question to a befuddled Edward Zwick, who seems to be saying Murder Is Wrong Unless It’s In A Rousing And Astonishingly Improbable Battle Sequence At The End.  It’s like the exact opposite of A Clockwork Orange, where Kubrick deliberately stylized Alex’s violence when he was committing and depicted it graphically when it was done to him.  When Tuvia Bielski kills the police captain who was responsible for his parents death, it’s graphic and depressing, making the case that an actual hero is a worse person than Alex and his three droogs.  Totally not dobby, dude.

Fair enough; violence is horrible.  I’d go as far to say that it’s unnecessary pretty much all of the time.  I’d go even farther to say that the one group of people who possess the ability to do it (sociopaths) shouldn’t have the ability, and the group that can’t fight back (everyone else), should have it.  This would be a good topic for a film.  Someone should make it.  I bet there’s even some stories in real life that might fit this exact thesis.

I’ll let you know if I find any.

Profits!

Man, it could have been a great film.
$4.00
Total Profits
$4.00

Losses!

I know you have to generate cheap character conflicts to generate ‘tension’. Remind me; were there any real conflicts in 1943 Belarus that you might have used?
$3.00
Oh right. The tank battle. That seems realistic.
$2.50
Total Losses
$5.50

-$1.50

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