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May 4, 2009 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Based on the novel by John Boyne, this film follows Bruno, a ten year-old-boy who moves with his parents to a new house on a farm. Young Bruno eventually finds a curious barbed-wire fence, housing Jewish captives in a Concentration Camp. With this discovery, he makes friends with a peculiar boy behind the fence named Shmuel.

With all the Holocaust WWII-esque films being made in this modern time, it can be easy for them all to blur into one through overuse and repetitive storylines. But I’m a big fan of Holocaust films; there’s something about the craziness of the era and the mystery of what went on in those dark years when Hitler did the unspeakable. By now, we could say, we have a huge understanding of the victims.

But this little boy in the striped pyjamas will most probably tear your heart out of your chest, if you’re not careful. I was caught off guard by both Shmuel, the boy in the said striped pyjamas, who is a Jew caught in a Concentration Camp somewhere in Germany, and Bruno. Bruno was as much a victim as Shmuel was, and this was what was interesting in the film. The naivety of Bruno was intense; there was no understanding as to why this boy was wearing pyjamas behind a barbed wire fence and the questions Bruno asked broke my heart. Even Shmuel was unaware of the nastiness of the situation he was in. It’s amazing to note how these people accepted and adapted the life they were thrown into.

The English accents apparent throughout the entire film in some ways let it down, messing with the reality of the era. Sometimes it’s difficult to get into a film with a foreign setting when its language or accent is not believable; however, the acting was sensational. Child actors these days could actually top older actors with their skill; it’s unbelievable how skilled they are in their emotional capacity. Bruno and Shmuel were the movie. There’s something about seeing the world through the eyes of children. In To Kill A Mockingbird we see a racist town through the eyes of a young Scout Finch, and in this movie we see the world for what it is. Along with this, the integration of propaganda into everyday life is seen through Bruno and his sister’s personal tutor and the posters his sister places on her bedroom wall.

The ending will catch you off guard. It’s easy to assume with a film of this kind, especially with a ‘boy in the striped pyjamas’ put into the equation, what will happen. However, the final conclusion to this was so symbolic—it definitely left me thinking for a long time afterwards.

Directed by Mark Herman
With Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Vera Farmiga


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