When the Nazi’s invade Poland in September 1939, the Bielski brothers evade the local police and German soldier by running off and hiding in the local woods. Upon entering the forests they find that many other Polish Jews have the same idea. Under the leadership of the two senior brothers Tuvia (Daniel Craig) and Zus (Liev Schreiber) the Bielski brothers create a woodland village community for all those who have evaded the German Army. The movie tells the moving story of life on the run and the triumph of the human spirit when there is no other option but to survive.
A deeply emotionally driven cast joins together to tell this true and moving story of a set of brothers who together motivate hundreds of outcasts to survival. Set in the Woods surrounding the towns of Lida and Novogrudek in Belarus. In fact history tells us that after two and a half years in the woods, in July 1944, more than one thousand Bielski Jews emerged–alive–on that final, triumphant exit from the woods. The intense rivalistic relationship between Zus and Tuvia Bielski is played out to perfection by Craig and Schrieber. The entire cast cannot be faulted for its realistic portrayal of a group of people suffering as they try to rebuild their lives with nothing in the middle of a forest as they hope and pray for salvation.
The beautifully shot scenes are lush with the dark overtones of being hunted and haunted. The film’s pace keeps you enthralled at the lengths that are gone to in order to survive. This is something that in general, we in New Zealand have no real understanding of. Another of the truly standout performances comes from Jamie Bell, most famously known for his portrayal as Billy Elliot. The role of Aseal Bielski is the role that he has been building to within his “under the radar” career so far.
In your life you will likely have seen many films that have shown that out of great terror comes amazing stories of bravery and heroism that over shadows the goals of evil. This is one of those stories. It is amazing that the story of the Bielski Brothers has been kept so hidden for so long.
Overall a good film about true heroism in a dark time of world history.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, George MacKay, Tomas Arana, Alexa Davalos.
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Genre: War, Drama, Action.
Duration: 2hr 17mins
Rating: [M] contains violence & offensive language.