DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Val Kermode's film review of Defiance

The main extra here is a feature-length commentary track with Edward Zwick. It has an academic air from the get-go, as Zwick touches upon issues of casting – he is particularly keen to stress the top names in the ensemble- shooting the film – how they used Google Earth to find locations, for example – and the real-life history of the brothers.

Given the nature of the film this makes for a pretty serious run-through, but there is plenty of interest here, including the way they set up some of the special effects, the use of fake snow and the overwhelming desire for the film to look and feel ‘authentic’. Although scholarly, Zwick is an engaging commentator and never runs out of things to say either about the cast, the origins of the story or the shoot itself.

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This seriousness also pervades the behind-the-scenes feature, Defiance: Return To The Forest, although Liev Schreiber brings a little levity to proceedings when he reveals that hitting your head on a tree made from rubber is, perhaps unsurprisingly, still a painful undertaking.

What is most striking about the making of is the conditions in which the cast and crew were shooting – it looks very cold indeed, and only serves to underline the hardships the people the film is based on lived through in order to resist.

The feature itself is well-subtitled, although somewhat annoyingly Return To The Forest is not. There is also an audio descriptive track of the film.

The Blu-Ray disc features two additional featurettes and an image gallery, but there seems to be no good reason why they could not have also been included on the DVD.

Reviewed on: 19 May 2009
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Defiance packshot
Four brothers escape Nazi occupied Belarussia and hide out in the woods with other rebels, plotting to rescue their fellow Jews.
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Product Code: MP825D

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, audio description

Extras: · Return to the Forest: The Making of Defiance

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