Monday, August 10, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

I’ve been delaying watching this movie that I imagined was going to be another WWII Holocaust story but finally I gave it a try and have to say that is not necessarily what I imagined as the movie is a quick attention grabber thanks to good actor’s performances and the story told from a German kid point of view.

Tells the story of Bruno, an eight-year-old kid that leaves Berlin to the “countryside” because his father, a German soldier, gets a promotion. At the new house he’s told not to go to the back of the house, but as a kid that loves explorer stories, eventually goes to the back and meets a kid in stripped pajamas, who becomes his only friend. As both kids become friends a tutor is teaching Bruno the realities of the historical and current affairs in Germany. The movie slowly, quite slowly, escalates the inevitable and soon enough you guess that the end has to be tragedy and it is. Still the story and movie totally keeps your attention.

Excellent performance by Asa Butterfield that plays Bruno as the most normal and confused boy that easily dismisses what he does not really understand and tries one and more times to go back to his eight-year-old world of fantasy stories and playing. Butterfield shows great skills to present a Bruno that is naïve but never cute. Also great performance by Vera Farmiga as Bruno’s mother with many scenes where she conveys feelings with sights and body language more than with words; so no surprise to find that she won a 2008 BAFTA for Best Actress.

The movie touches a theme that has been told many times in many ways and that is always compelling, appalling and hard to digest. But in this film thanks to the great performances becomes a little easier to watch, even if your heart will shrink when you start to guess the finale.

Not a masterpiece of cinema, but an attention grabber with smooth production values that once more conveys a terrible story in the most unusual way, thru the eyes of a young German kid. As many say, this is fiction based on a novel, so it’s not actual history and becomes a family drama set in very dark surroundings.

I cannot say I enjoyed the movie as the story is one not to enjoy. I can say that the film kept my total attention from beginning to end and motivate me to think about something that not many movies had me thinking, what Germans that didn’t agree and knew what was happening had to live in those days.

Still, is one movie that I recommend to watch for the story and good performances.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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