The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) Reviews
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a film depicting the story of the Holocaust through the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, Bruno (Asa Butterfield). It was produced for the soul purpose of opening your eyes to the reality of not only the devastating times but also the reality through the perspective of an innocent child.
This mind-boggling film starts out with Bruno playing with his friends in Berlin, then coming to the realization that his family is moving to the countryside due to his fathers' (David Thewlis) promotion in the military. As his family arrives to the new house, Bruno discovers what he comprehends to be a farm. One with knowledge about the Holocaust will come to the realization that this "farm" is a concentration camp that Ralf, Bruno's father, is in command over. As they get settled into their new surroundings, Bruno begins to ponder about the "farm" in the distance.
He just moved away from his beloved friends, friends he grew up with. Now he is surrounded strictly by family and the people that work for them. All of these people seem to have their plates full, and never have time to spare a moment to play with Bruno. This leaves him to fend for himself when it comes to entertainment. Bruno loves adventure; he is always seeking new things to explore, which leads him to the concentration camp seen from his new house.
When Bruno comes across this camp, there is a boy in "pajamas", Shmuel, (Jack Scanlon) sitting alone beside a pile of concrete blocks. Over the next several weeks, Bruno builds a friendship with "the boy in the striped pajamas" despite the enormous barbed-wire fence standing between them. During this time, there is an incident with Shmuel and a soldier at Bruno's home. Shmuel is not seen for several days after this. As an innocent boy, Bruno does not understand why his friend is no longer coming to the intimidating fence at the camp. One day he reappears and is more mournful than usual. Bruno learns of the cause for his newly made friends' emotions and decides he is going to help.
During this time, Bruno's mother, Elsa (Vera Farmiga) comes to find out that the camp is killing Jews due to the lack of respect from a soldier when he proclaims, "they smell even worse when they burn." Because of this gruesome statement, Elsa decides it is in the family's best interest to move away from the camp in order to raise Bruno and his sister, Gretel, (Amber Beattie) appropriately. The day that the three of them are scheduled to leave, Bruno escapes to the camp in attempt to help Shmuel. It is in this moment of the film that you really understand how devastating the Holocaust was. The next few scenes leading up to the end of the film unfold the reality of two innocent children trying to make sense of the evil in this world.
As I watched this film I continuosly compared it to The Book Thief, in which the young girl moves to Germany due to the loss of her mother and must find a way to survive. The girl in that film does not understand that the Holocaust is taking place; she is just trying to survive and does so because of her innocence.
This film not only expresses the heart-wrenching pain caused by the Holocaust, but also the innocence that the children had during this time. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was not created in a way that tells the story of the Holocaust like the typical straight forward film does, instead it provides you with a new perspective, that of an innocent eight-year-old boy. A boy with the only intentions of exploring new places and creating new friends.
It takes a certain dedication to portray a story in a way that not only tells the history of the Nazis and Jews but also provides a perspective that the majority of people seem to forget exists. This film shows the strength innocence has in times of desperation, which is exactly why you should spare 94 minutes of your life to embrace the heart-wrenching reality of one of those innocent children during a life-changing moment in history.