On paper Daniel Craig’s latest role as the no-nonsense leader of a band of Jews hiding out from the Nazis in a Belorussian forest doesn’t sound like much of a stretch from his hard-man Bond persona.

But Tuvia Bielski was not a cold-blooded killer like the aforementioned 007 - his objective was to save Jewish lives rather than simply kill Nazis.

Set in 1941 Defiance tells the incredible true story of brothers Tuvia, Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Asael (Jamie Bell) Bielski who helped more than 1,200 Jewish men, women and children flee the Holocaust by forming a successful forest community.

Initially the brothers avenged the deaths of their loved ones by killing those who had betrayed them but, under Tuvia’s measured leadership, they realised the best revenge against persecution was simply to survive.

As their numbers grew the group became more organised - building shelters, taking food from farmers, at gunpoint when necessary, and fighting anyone who discovered their community.

They eventually embarked on rescue and resistance operations which involved them taking Jews from ghettos and forming an organised, armed resistance group known as the Bielski Otriad.

The community battled bitterly cold winters, disease and the constant threat of discovery or attack for more than two years until the area was liberated in 1944.

Director Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) has done a remarkable job of bringing this amazing true story to the big screen.

The community’s courage and determination to keep faith alive in a seemingly hopeless situation is inspiring.

Daniel Craig is well cast as the single-minded yet good-hearted Tuvia whose strong leadership kept his followers safe. Liev Schreiber is excellent as his revenge-hungry, brooding younger brother Zus who led a group of partisans into battle alongside the Russian Army. His commanding presence is felt both in camp and on screen.

Former Billy Elliott star Jamie Bell’s character Asael is the most level-headed of the brothers and Bell’s portrayal of the youngest Bielski is spot-on.

Although the protagonists are generally likeable, Zwick isn’t afraid to show their flaws. And he doesn’t shy away from showing the savagery of forest life either - such as Tuvia’s shooting of a camp rebel and the beating to death of a German soldier by the angry, victimised community.

This movie is as much about education as entertainment. Though not as moving as other Holocaust films such as Schindler’s List it is nevertheless a remarkable story told by a capable acting and production team.