Release Date: November 7th, 2008
Click here for The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Trailer.
The movie, based on the novel by John Boyne, is the heart breaking Holocaust story of a German boy and his uncanny friendship with a Jewish child.
Bruno(Asa Butterfield) is a privileged boy living in Berlin with his sister, mother, and father, who happens to be a high ranking Nazi soldier. But when his father(David Thewlis) is transferred to a new post in the German countryside, Bruno, along with the rest of his family, must accompany him. At his new home, Bruno, having no friends or anyone around to make friends with, is becoming lonely, restless, and bored. From his window, Bruno notices a "farm" a little ways down the road where the "farmers" where funny stripped clothing, or as Bruno calls it, pajamas. Bruno is told not to go into the back garden by his mother(Vera Farmiga). But the undenying curiosity of young Bruno is too much to overcome and he disobeys his mother and ventures out of the garden and beyond. It is here he finds his way to the "farm", which is actually a concentration camp. When he reaches the fence, he is greeted by Shmuel(Jack Scanlon), a Jewish prisoner who is eight years old, the same age as Bruno. After meeting, the two boys form a timid and careful friendship. They play catch and checkers and Bruno even sneaks food to Shmuel through the electrified barbed wire fence. Bruno is naive to what is going on with the Nazis and the Jewish people. When a tutor arrives to teach Bruno and his sister(Amber Beattie) the new German curriculum, Bruno starts to hear of the "terrible things" the Jews have done to the German people. It is here Bruno starts to question the motives of the war and his father, whom he once viewed as a hero. When Bruno's father learns of him asking questions of why the Jews are so bad and of his kindness and his liking of the Jewish people, he decides to move his wife and children somewhere else, away from the concentration camp. But before he leaves, Shmuel tells Bruno that his father is missing. So together, the two hatch a dangerous plan to look for Shmuel's dad, and it is here the movie reaches it's heart breaking climax.
Thewlis does an impressive job as the father in this movie. He is a fantastic actor and, in such a dramatic movie, is the perfect fit for such a role. Farminga also does a great job. She is so warm and loving, it almost makes you forget her husband is a Nazi. Then there is Butterfield and Scanlon. These two, being so young, really handled the pressure of such dramatic roles. One thing about this movie that was off putting was that everybody in the film spoke in a British accent. I mean, considering the movie was about Jewish people and German people, I figured the characters would have the respected dialects. At least all the characters spoke in a British accent unlike in other movies like Valkyrie (read my review) so it wasn't completely terrible. But overall this movie was very interesting. It was also shot very uniquely. I think it was the color. It was all kind of dark and grey, except for the Nazi flag which, as always, was bright red and noticeable. The color really set the tone for the whole movie. You felt kind of sad and melancholy when you watched and the only thing that brought you the slightest joy was the happy friendship between Bruno and Shmuel. Yet it also brought you the most anticipated sadness, because you know that something very bad will happen to Shmuel, because obviously something terrible is going to happen to him. So the entire movie leaves you wondering everytime you see Bruno and Shmuel together when the inevitable climax will happen.
Overall this is a really good movie. The writing is good, the acting is good, the story is good, and everything is just all around enjoyable. I would highly recommend this movie for anybody who is in the mood for a good drama or who likes movies based in the World War II era. I give The Boy In The Striped Pajamas 9 "Farms" out of 10.
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