The story begins in 1941, and is about four brothers who lose their parents in a raid and take shelter in the woods from the Germans. As the story progresses the Bielski brothers continue to encounter other displaced Jews, reluctantly welcoming them into their fold, uncertain whether they can accept responsibility for their safety and well-being. Before long, their camp evolves into a community, and word spreads throughout the region that there's a place for the Jews to seek refuge. Because Defiance is primarily about the camp's struggle to survive, there's no specific adversary. For sure, the Nazi threat is always present, but much of the film focuses on the Bielski partisans battling cold, starvation, and illness during a bitter winter not unlike the American revolutionary troops at Valley Forge. They also face adversity from within as fear and uncertainty threaten to overcome them, leading to unrest and sedition. This provides for a very interesting story which teaches their need each other if they're to survive on their own in the wilderness. As one of the brothers puts it, their goal is not to exact vengeance on their Nazi persecutors—"Our revenge is to live."
The acting is top notch with great production and score. The violence is there, but is not on par with Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List and also their is some language.
Defiance is a compelling tale that not only depicts how a community came together to face adversity, but also how they responded to it. I highly recommend it!
4 stars out of 4.
Defiance is rated R for violence and language.