Review #712 of 365
Movie Review of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) [PG-13] 94 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $14.25
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 1 December 2008 @ 5:15 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: There is Nothing
Directed by: Mark Herman (Hope Springs)
Screenplay by: Mark Herman (Hope Springs)
Based on the Book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Asa Butterfield (Son of Rambow) • Jack Scanlon ("The Peter Serafinowicz Show" ) • Vera Farmiga (Joshua) • David Thewlis (HP: Order of the Phoenix) • Amber Beattie (Empathy ) • Cara Horgan (Ladies and Gentlemen) • David Hayman (Trial & Retribution) • Rupert Friend (The Last Legion) • Richard Johnson (The Raven) • Sheila Hancock (Fallen Angel)
… haunting, tragic, and poignant.
All that said, there are a few parts that are either unbelievable from a technical standpoint or explained away out of arrogance. The fact that the two boys, and a later detail revealed only in the spoiler, interact aside this electrified fence for weeks without being noticed or caught is hard to imagine as probable let alone possible. Of course, it could be explained as noted by the arrogance of those in charge of the camp. After all, if you've so mentally demoralized and physically denigrated your prisoners, they might not even think to try to escape, and therefore there would be no need for constant monitoring of the fence line and the whereabouts of each and every prisoner. As it is a British made film, the actors are British, with the exception of Vera Farmiga who is, of course, from New Jersey, but there is no attempt for the actors to utilize German accents in their English (which is odd). The film, I hate to say, would have been a few times better had it been in German with subtitled. I know, I know, USAers don't do subtitles. Well, there are two options, folks, learn more languages—something our nation avoids like a disease—or deal with subtitles. You know that Chinese teens who study English from 2nd grade, learn the vast majority of their English (especially the lingo, jargon, and such, from watching movies without subtitles!). But, as usual, I digress, it is a fact that this film would have been stronger had it been in German despite being written in English by an Irishman in the first place. There is something to be said for the realism. At least, these trained actors could have given German accents to their English if nothing else. Aside from these two now certainly overstated issues (and the one from the spoiler), the story is a brilliant morality play. Every single person in the world, but especially the seemingly growing number of people in the USA, fueled by their ideologically driven, profit-driven talk radio and cable television hosts and non-journalistically trained hate-mongering bloggers, who charges forward with a 'Hate Agenda' disguised as what ever they want to disguise it, needs to see this film and be reminded of what happens when a nation is empowered by those with 'superiority complexes' and their deep opinions that they know what's best and better for everyone else. Those who poored their millions in support of Proposition 8 or insane adoption laws in Arkansas, those who hide behind the Bible as their shield seemingly ignoring their religious faith is based on the life of a man who preached tolerance toward the different, begged we turn the other cheek; and, at the very least, gave of his unmarried self to the hungry and the needy. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas serves as a necessary reminder that all that bottled up hatred fueled by a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing, charismatic leader can take a nation, a people, down a path toward terror and evil unlike the world has ever known. We must not teach our children to hate or fear that which we do not know!
Mark Herman has deftly translated the book to the screen with readers proclaiming it an entirely very successful rendition. The cast is superb led so well by the young Asa Butterfield who carries the film and gives it the essential view as seen through the eyes of a child. Surely, however, Jack Scanlon's performance as Shmuel should not be overlooked, though less sophisticated than Butterfield, his thoughtful portrayal was essential to building the climax. For the most part, the adults in the film are archetypal, as are the performances, with the exception of Pavel.
… an entirely very successful rendition… inexplicably grief-inducing, paralyzing…
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Other Projects Featuring The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
Asa Butterfield • Jack Scanlon • Vera Farmiga
David Thewlis • Amber Beattie • Cara Horgan
David Hayman • Rupert Friend • Richard Johnson