Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[Movie] The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This is the movie adaptation of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, depicting the Nazi concentration camp during World War II from the eyes of an eight year old German boy. This movie is directed by Mark Herman—who also wrote the screenplay, and was published in 2008. No matter what I would say about the cinematography, one thing is sure: just like the book, it’s hard to not crying when you watch this!


The most interesting castings here are probably Bruno and Shmuel; and I think both boys can play each role good enough, but Shmuel is slightly more natural than Bruno. The best acting however, came from Bruno’s mother, which was performed by Vera Farmiga. Vera could catch Bruno’s mother emotion very well; especially in the end, when she realized what has happened to her boy when she found Bruno’s clothes on the side of the concentration camp fence. Her cry is really ‘tear-shedding’. And I think her role is very important here to top up the tragedy. If the movie follows the book, it won’t be as dramatic as the movie.

Another interesting casting is Bruno’s father, the German Commandant, played by David Thewlis, who’s also played in Harry Potter as Professor Lupin. I have always felt that Thewlis don’t fit Lupin’s personalities, he looks too cunning for Lupin. However, he fits perfectly in the role of Bruno’s father here, the proud Nazi Commandant who believes that the Jews aren’t ‘people’, and could take responsibilities of the killing of hundreds (or thousands?) of human beings coldly and calmly.

Story and Plot

The movie’s general plot outline follows the book. However, there are small details that are adapted to fit the movie. One thing that I think ought not to be changed is that not long before Bruno’s last adventure with Shmuel, Bruno has had a head shaving because of bugs attack. This gives him bald head which, added to the striped pyjamas, will gives him a perfect Jewish boy look just like Shmuel. It would be natural for him to be wondering around the camp with Shmuel. In the movie, although Bruno wears a cap, his black hair isn’t completely covered, and it’s quite weird that nobody from the officers see him. Well, it would be ironic ‘coincident’.

Setting and Costumes

Both setting and costumes are perfect. I love particularly Bruno’s mother costumes, they are lovely!  I must give two thumbs up for the costume designer and make-up artist for creating the depressed looks to Bruno’s mother after she is shocked to find out the connection of the Jewish banishment and bad smell comes from black smoke from the camp.

Overall, I grant eight and a half stars for this movie adaptation.


I watched this for Books Into Movies Monthly Meme #8

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