Friday, November 21, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - 2 1/2 stars

Bruno is an eight year old boy living in Berlin during World War II. His father is a high ranking Nazi officer who is given a new job as commandant of a concentration camp. When the family moves to a house near the camp, Bruno starts a friendship with a boy who is a prisoner in the camp.

When Bruno first sees the camp thru his window, he thinks its a farm. He asks why the workers are all wearing pajamas. When he is exploring and gets to the camp, he meets eight year old Shmuel. Shmuel seems to be as in the dark as Bruno. He doesn't really know where he is or why he is there.

Bruno sneaks out to the camp every so often to see Shmuel, bring him food, and play checkers. He also notices the way his father and the other soldiers treat Pavel, a Jew who is the family's butler / gardener / slave. The movie could have been more interesting if Bruno had asked more questions, but he remains in relative ignorance for the entire movie. He sees the soldiers beat Pavel but he never asks his father about it.

The movie has one hell of a downer of an ending. Its a holocaust movie so you should go in expecting some horrors, but you won't see where this movie is going. I gave it 2 1/2 stars because it wasn't as good as it should have been. Its a great idea to do a holocaust movie thru a child's eyes, but it didn't work for me (except the end).

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