A blend of personal favorites and films that I consider to be the "greatest." Top two-hundred is definitive. Only 1940-2015.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us.
Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.
I teach English in the Netherlands and one of the things that has always bothered me is the fact that this generation of kids here just doesn't read anymore. They don't read Dutch novels, let alone English ones. Each year there are maybe a handful of students in their exam year who actually enjoy reading and read novels other than the ones they have to read for school.
One of the traits of modern education is a somewhat exaggerated focus on the stragglers, the ones that need that bit of extra help to reach the goals set for the completion of their career in education. While I think that this is most certainly necessary, I do feel that this often…
Exploring the horrors of the darkest period in human history & told from the viewpoint of an 8-year old boy, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a strong, heartfelt story of a forbidden friendship formed between a German boy of a Nazi official & a Jewish boy in an extermination camp and it's the evolution of their innocent relationship only that makes this film work.
Slow yet engaging in its narration, very well directed, elegantly photographed, nicely edited, wonderfully performed & calmly scored, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a simple yet effective Holocaust drama that manages to grasp your attention throughout its runtime and delivers a final twist so powerful & haunting that it's gonna leave you completely astounded, speechless & devastated in the end.
One of the breakout pieces of literature from the last decade, John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was always likely to become a movie and pretty fast, given the potentially award baiting subject matter combining childhood innocence with the pure evil of extreme Nazism, but Mark Herman's film ends up being a faithful if essentially toothless adaptation. It drew criticism in a fair few quarters for depicting a rose tinted view of the Holocaust, failing to be too unflinching in its view of the concentration camps and perhaps being too sympathetic to the Nazis who essentially make up our protagonists. You can see their point, Herman more interested in twanging the heart strings through Asa Butterfield's young main…
When I first saw this movie, it got to me. It made me feel like shit. At the time, I interpreted that as meaning this was an emotionally powerful movie. Upon further reflection, I've realized what it really means: this movie is a morally bankrupt, absolutely reprehensible piece of shit.
What is the single best ways to toy with an audience's emotions?
Kill a kid.
This movie does it twice. Ooh, how bold. How daring. This movie is really impressive because it doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of war, right?
Oh, wait, wrong. Because the movie isn't saying anything. Really, what is it saying? World War 2 was bad? Innocence fucks people over? Okay. We get it. What…
He used to be a doctor once, but gave it all up to peel potatoes.
Based on John Boyne's 2006 novel of the same name we follow Bruno, an eight year old child of a concentration camp commandant, as he makes his own assumptions of what the camp and it's prisoners are as no one is prepared to explain it to him. He makes friends with an 8 year old Jewish boy as he wonders why the farmers on the other side of the fence work in their pajamas.
Bruno makes assumptions on what the camp is because even though it is now walking distance from their new home, no one seems willing to tell him what's going on.…
The boy in the striped pajamas isn't the best way of telling a story because of its pace issues but it has wonderful child performances and a heart pounding ending.
This was what The Book Thief wanted to be, a look at the ugliness of war and the self-delusional ways the Nazis rationalized their "work." It's a bit uneven, and David Thewlis was miscast, but the end is chilling and effective.
Overall this was a brilliantly made film with a lot of foreshadowing. However I couldn't get myself to pity the children because of the amount of optimism they had about every single thing.
A reductive and melodramatic look at the Holocaust. The outcome is telegraphed too early, the characters are archetypes, and the lead-up to the denouement absurd and perfunctory.
There is no subtlety. Imagine a cartoon hammer pounding the morality lesson into the viewers' heads.
I have a lot of problems and complaints here, but the ending makes up for a decent number of them.
Okay so maybe I came demanding too much. When the credits started rolling I was left a little empty.
Acting: The Jewish boy, the old Jewish man and Bruno's mother were the only ones I appreciated. Everyone else was meh.
Plot: Super predicable. Too predictable. I know this is based of the book but still come on guys.
Scenes: The best scene was Bruno betraying Shmuel in the food controversy. That got me a wee bit emotional inside. That scene stirred up some emotions as this film should have done. A decent scene was were the parents fighting about the father's "duty."
Sin: Shmuels teeth were very inconsistent. When Bruno first met his friend, Shmuel had cavities. Later in the film they are pristine white. I doubt Jews' teeth got cleaner in the holocaust.
I don't enjoy calling films exploitive, but The Boy in the Striped Pajamas never does anything to deserve the emotional weight it throws on at the end. This 90 minute film struggles to create enough purpose just to get to the single twist. For the majority of the movie, I was just bored. Its a dull movie with uninteresting dynamics between any of the leads. The mother, father, soldier, the jewish boy, and even the leading kid all just exist.
The single best scene in the movie is when the young boy lies about his friend. It was set up well and honestly should have happened within the first 10 minutes, not at the end, because it was the only…
puh. i found the mother quite convincing.
A Holocaust film aimed at teens that aside from one hard-to-swallow coincidence is fairly well done. It's always nice to see the under-utilized David Thewlis.
It's never easy to relieve the darkest period of our history, even though we never forget it. But when it's told from the point of view of an innocent 8 year old it's even more difficult. Beautiful and painful.
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