Directed By: Mark Herman
Written By: John Boyne (Novel) , Mark Herman (Screenplay)
There have been many many books and movies describing and telling about the horrors of the Holocaust , from the eyes of their survivors, people involved and some of them have really touched hearts but The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is different, very much different than the others I have seen or read. Its full of heart, innocence and hope. Its beautiful and pure to the core and makes you wonder why n where did we lost our innocence and became what we were and are , animals, fighting, killing and full of hate. It sees the period from the eyes of an eight year old. Its about friendship in the worst conditions and in shear adversity.
Bruno( Asa Butterfield ) is the son of a German commandant, living happily in Berlin .His father is moved to a remote village where a concentration camp is being setup. The villa Bruno and his family are stationed is very close by to the camp. Bruno like every eight year old is adventurous and an explorer. He is innocent and ignorant of what was happening in the world. He sneaks out one day and discovers the camp, which he thinks is a farm. Bruno meets Shmuel ( Jack Scanlon) another eight year old, who is also a prisoner at the camp. They become close friends and Shmuel is actually Bruno's only friend. Unaware of what's going on, the boys are happy in each others company. Its the eyes of an eight year old whose only source of happiness is his friend Shmuel, to whom he pops a question one day ." you know we are not supposed to be friends but enemy" and the boys don't know or care about. That's what this movie is about, which meets a sad end.
The first thing that touches you are the eyes of Bruno, full of innocence, life and curiosity about the world. The innocence of the boy and his pure heart is well crafted out in the dialogue "Its funny grown ups can't make their minds up about what they want to do" , the movie isn't about the war or its horrors, its about the lost innocence. A concentration camp is a farm for a boy who reads only adventure books but as he is taught about the world, he becomes skeptical and that's how we corrupt the pure souls. The first meeting of Bruno & Shmuel is so pure, its two different worlds wanting the same thing love, friendship and a chance to explore. The bright smile on Bruno's face when he meets Shmuel and knows he is also eight reminds us that we don't have to judge a person by who he is but whats inside.The daughter of the family Gartel is contrast and example of what how we do it. Shmuel adds to questions of the movie, which are a lot not just put forward but to be asked to ourselves. The guilt of Bruno letting his friend Shmuel down by not standing up for him , the wait to see him again and the forgiveness by Shmuel , does reminds us how simple the world could have been. Just want to say that its a movie from the heart and should be watched with heart.
The movie is based on a 2006 book by John Boyne. As far as the movies technicality go on, the cinematography by Benoît Delhomme is superb. He captures every color visible to perfection. The screenplay, since I haven't read the book was fine to me. The movie needed dialogues mostly from an eight years perspective and most of them were. The innocent questions were too many and were apt to the subject. The treatment of the movie by Mark Herman I felt is honest coz he never lets the adults takeover the movie. The movie never shows the horrors but does lets us know the happenings through Shmuel and Pavel. The movie is more like "Jacob the Liar" which only talks of hope and its power. I characters weren't that complicated and the stars perform well. I got to say though Bruno is our protagonist but Shmuel played by Jack Scanlon is the one that speaks more. Jack Scanlon performs his part to perfection and so Asa Butterfield. The movie is full of bright and pure moments.
The movie starts with a quote form John Betjeman "Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.",which actually summarizes this movie. There may be people who may say the movie just polishes what happened during that war or may say it just shows the tragedy of a Nazi family with glossing up the horrors of the period but I would like to say to them, no one can tell or feel the horrors of that period expect who went through it but this movie is an attempt to just reach within and search , weren't we like this but what happened. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas is just an eight year old's world, who didn't knew how the adults are destroying his world, he just saw a soul. Its fruitless me just writing all this here but I really felt that the movie was much more than what meets the eye .
Its a heart felt story and told with a lot of heart, its not about the Holocaust neither about what was right and wrong but more about what we doing to world.
Plus : More heart than art.
Ratings : 9/10