The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
November 7, 2008
Okay, picture a scene from some comedy where they cut away to a fictitious Oscar broadcast, and someone is describing a ridiculous melodramatic tear-jerker that’s designed to win everything by its sheer seriousness. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is like that.
Based on a book by noted Irish novelist John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas follows Bruno, a young German son of a high-ranking Nazi officer, as he relocates to a new home outside his father’s new “workplace”. I’ll let you guess – yes, Auschwitz. I know, I know, painfully obvious. So, Bruno begins exploring, and wonders why the “farm” down the road has a large fence on it, and why the workers all wear striped pajamas. Bruno meets a young Jewish boy on the other side of the fence, friendship blooms, the child learns about injustice and tolerance, and by the end we’ve all somehow magically found handkerchiefs in our pockets and thoroughly worn them out.
Reviews for the film have been fairly mixed, with some praising its unique approach and others calling it decidedly sloppy. Praise has been directed at the cast, however, including Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, and Asa Butterfield.
The film is adapted and directed by inconsistent British filmmaker Mark Herman, last seen dropping the utter bomb Hope Springs (with Colin Firth and Heather Graham.) Herman has delivered a few interesting films to the arthouse circuit, but no true hits. (Sean Collier/BOP)