The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Adapted from John Boyne's bestseller, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas sees 8-year-old Bruno (Butterfield) and his family move to the countryside during WWII where his father Ralf (Thewlis) is a commandant of a concentration camp. Wandering about one day, Bruno meets Shmuel (Scanlon), a boy on the other side of the fence, and the two strike up a friendship. However, that friendship can only go so far... The angle of The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas is that the holocaust is seen through a child's eyes and Bruno is oblivious to what is happening around him: the opening credit sequence sees him playing games with friends as people are loaded onto trucks; the concentration camp is a 'farm', the 'farmers' wear 'pyjamas', and housekeeper Pavel "was a doctor but gave it all up to peel potatoes." Okay, so the movie is seen through a child's innocent eyes and you expect some 'Introduction to Nazism 101' dialogue, but that doesn't excuse the scenes Bruno isn't in: Ralf's mother doesn't keep her displeasure of her son's vocation a secret but is told "airing your views in public could land you in trouble." We all know this aspect of Nazi Germany, but Herman (Brassed Off, Hope Springs) goes about his film as if this was the first time Nazism and concentration camps were captured on celluloid and as a result brings nothing new to the table. His dialogue is very stiff and obvious, as if the writer-director has spent the last few years scripting Kinder Bueno ads. He isn't helped by the phoned-in performances, with Scanlon displaying the only subtlety on show. James Horner's melodramatic piano is never far away, underscoring almost every scene just in case we don't know what to feel when watching. It's hard to know whom this film is for: most of us are familiar with Nazism and concentration camps and those who aren't won't have a clue what's going on.
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content