Edward Zwick, ‘Defiance’

Director bases big action films on real events

Like a general steeped in tradition, Edward Zwick sticks to what he knows. While action filmmaking largely has become the domain of comicbooks, CGI, camp and cartoon violence, Zwick’s version is a throwback to a time when big-budget actioners were grounded in real events and featured heroes with human frailities and complexities.

Zwick’s latest, “Defiance,” stands as a worthy follow-up to his 2006 actioner about the conflict-jewel trade, “Blood Diamond,” capturing the true-life WWII heroism of Eastern European Jews who used their wits, bravery and stamina to survive the Holocaust happening around them.

Zwick clearly likes battlefields both physical and internal, whether it be the American Civil War setting of “Glory,” the Japanese code of honor at the heart of “The Last Samurai” or the consequences of Islamic extremism he examined in “The Siege,” before 9/11 made the issue of violent religious intolerance tragically familiar.

Trophies: National Board of Review Award

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