The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
- Director:Mark Herman
- Cast:László Áron, Asa Butterfield, Attila Egyed, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend, David Thewlis
- Release Date:April 23, 2009
- Distributor:Walt Disney
- Running time:94 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
“…will leave you so moved as to be breathless…”
Set during WW2, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas starts off like a soulless Merchant-Ivory clone. As it slowly unfolds, however, you become more and more involved.
It begins in Berlin. David Thewlis (Harry Potter) is a Nazi officer who's set to take his family to the German countryside, where he's to become a concentration camp commander.
The story is seen through the eyes of the Nazi officer's son, eight-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield). Living on the perimeter of the camp, Bruno has no concept of what's really happening inside, and invents his own explanations - he thinks that the prisoners' striped uniforms are pyjamas, and believes the death camp to be a strange sort of farm. Bored and restless, Bruno treks to the edge of the camp where, on the other side of the wire, he meets Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish boy around the same age who's in the "farm" and who, like Bruno, doesn't understand the gravity of the situation.
What follows can't be discussed without going into spoilers. This staggering film - which is based on John Boyne's novel, and apparently takes poetic license with history - will leave you so moved as to be breathless. It does so chiefly through the measured storytelling of writer/director Mark Herman (Little Voice), and the startling performances from the two boys.
The past year has delivered unique cinematic perspectives on the horror-show that was WW2 - The Reader, Un Secret, Fugitive Pieces, Valkyrie, Good, and now this. It's a film that makes no excuses for the Nazis, yet presents them as fleshed-out, cliche-free characters.
Told in a series of increasingly powerful vignettes, you may get halfway through and wonder why it's getting so heavily recommended here. Once you've experienced it in its entirety, you'll know why.