"Defiance" is a riveting adventure that showcases the extraordinary true story of the Bielski brothers, simple farmers - outnumbered and outgunned - who turned a group of war refugees into powerful freedom fighters. Tuvia, along with his unyielding brother, Zus, motivate hundreds of civilians to join their ranks against the Nazi regime. Their "Inspirational story" is a true testament to the human spirit.
Based on the true-life exploits of the Bielski brothers, Defiance is a powerful film highlighting a couple of unsung heroes from WWII. I went in expecting an action film, which it is, but I was pleasantly surprised by the dramatic aspects of the production and its goal to stay historically accurate. To see the hardships these people had to endure is heart wrenching, and there are many generations that owe their lives to these courageous brothers.
The 1080p AVC encode is marvelous and exhibits reference-quality video. There are many nighttime scenes, which highlight incredible black levels and rich shadow detail. The attention to detail is astounding, especially in the bark of the trees, the textures of clothing, and facial detail in close-ups. The long sweeping shots of the forest look three-dimensional and provide a looking-through-a-window experience.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is a mixed bag. Fortunately, it hits much more than it misses. The dialog is clear and intelligible with adequate dynamic range, but the frequency response varies from scene-to-scene. Gunshots can sound a little hollow and unrealistic, especially from the smaller-caliber pistols. The third act explodes with action, and this is where the soundtrack shines. Deep bass permeates the room when the German planes dive-bomb the encampment, and the well-placed discrete effects create a 360-degree immersive experience.
The HD bonus features consist of a director's audio commentary, a "making-of" featurette, a look at the Oscar-nominated score, a photo montage of some real-life survivors, and a featurette on the Bielski family heritage. Rounding out the supplements is a pair of theatrical trailers.
There have been many powerful movies about WWII and the gut-wrenching experiences of the Jewish people. While Defiance isn't the best of the bunch, it's not bad by any means. The acting is first-rate, the story is compelling and educational, and the video presentation will blow you away. Recommended.