The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

Drama, History, War
Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, Zac Mattoon O'Brien
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.
A touching and haunting family film that deals with the Holocaust in an arresting and unusual manner, and packs a brutal final punch of a twist.
  • Miramax Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 28 Nov 2008 Released:
  • 10 Mar 2009 DVD Release:
  • $9.0M Box office:

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Trailer:

All things truly wicked start from an innocence-Ernest Hemingway9/10
I was so excited my theater got The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, from the moment I saw this trailer, I knew I was in for a treat. This movie just looked incredible, even though it's a touchy subject with the holocaust, it still looked like it was going to be a great story. Everyone always makes a comment about the innocence of childhood, what it was like to just not have reason, to just go with the flow of things before adults tell you what you have to do. So I watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas today and this movie seriously is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, but I felt it was very maturely handled. The actors are great and the story is very touching, to watch these two boys from two completely different worlds who come together just to have fun, be boys, not because of the difference of their background.

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. The boys have a great friendship talking every day, enjoying the company. But when the father gives Bruno a Nazi propaganda loving tutor, Bruno becomes confused, is his father an evil man or is his friend the evil one? Love his country and do his duty or don't judge and just stay true to his friend? Bruno must decide all this with some scary consequences ahead of him.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a fantastic film, though if you see it, I do recommend bringing the tissues. I couldn't believe the chemistry they had with these two young actors, they worked so well together as these innocent boys who both have no idea what's going on. Bruno doesn't know why his friend is behind fences, and his friend doesn't know why he's there either. The ending is extremely powerful and the story keeps you interested. I do recommend seeing The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, it's a treasure from 2008.

9/10
Utterly Devastating10/10
My fiance and I purchased tickets for a special advanced screening of this movie during the Carnegie Film Festival in Dunfermline, Fife. I didn't realise, but we were one of the first people to see it. I will try and not spoil it and keep the review very simple and straight forward.

The film is mainly shot through the eyes of Bruno played by Asa Butterfield growing up in war time Germany during the holocaust. After relocating at the will of the German Army, the film then centres on the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon). I will end it there as I don't wish to spoil the rest of the film.

Putting to one side the fact that everyone has a flawless English accent (which does make it difficult to hate them at first), the cinematics, sound, editing and above all acting are a credit to the British film industry.

Asa Butterfield is fine young actor and I'm sure will be destined for even greater things in the future.

As I mentioned above, I won't give anything away, but I will say that this is the first time I have been to the Cinema and everyone sat quiet right up until the end of the credits.

Please, please see this film. It will remain with you for a long time.
A very good film9/10
When my son (nearly 12 years old) read the book he was awake until 5am that night thinking about the story and what it all meant; he had some penetrating questions too. A day or so later he said that he thought that it would make a good film, and imagine his delight when he saw that there was a film of the book.

I have taken him to see the film; and was riveted. I think that the style of the film is really that of an old fashioned family film, however the subject matter is emotionally very demanding and all the better for that. It does what good drama should do - makes you think and feel. As the credits ran, at the showing that I saw, no one moved or spoke for a minute or two. The Holocaust is a difficult subject, but to tell a story in such a way that it is accessible to a 12 year is a great achievement.

There have been some comments that the cast speak English (rather than, presumably, German) and that this is somehow a bad thing. What are the alternatives? Either sub-titles or daft 'ello 'ello accents. In some ways the ordinariness of the Nazis and the family points up the horror of what happened – that ordinary people can do the worst of things to fellow human beings.
Stunning! Simply Stunning!!!7/10
There have been more than a few films on the subject of the Holocaust, possibly the daddy of them all being Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" based on the book "Schindler's Ark" by Thomas Keneally. Much better, however, in my mind is Costa-Gavras' "Amen" based on Rolf Hochhuth's play "Le Vicaire". Now Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", itself based on John Boyne's novel, is fit to mentioned alongside these two great films.

I was initially doubtful at the premise of this film since my knowledge of Holocaust history suggested that 8 year old boys would have been sent straight to the gas chambers on arrival rather than set to work in a camp (obviously I am happy to be set straight on this point if I am wrong). And having seen the film, I also doubt that the boy in the camp (Shmuel, well played by Jack Scanlon) would be able to sit at the camp fence undetected long enough to meet and talk to Bruno, the camp Commandant's son (an astonishingly assured performance by newcomer Asa Butterfield).

There has also been some criticism of the fact that all the actors speak in Received Pronounciation English accents (even American actress Vera Farmiga, whose English accent is completely faultless). This is true, although to be completely accurate, all the actors would have to speak in German and the film would have had to be subtitled as a result.

In truth, however, none of these criticisms actually matters a damn. For even though all of the above is undeniably true, the film still works. And my, how it works. When it finished, I sat in my seat stunned (I had the same reaction after watching "Disaster Movie" last week, but most definitely not for the same reason, I assure you).

The Holocaust as seen through the prism of 8 year old German boy is a novel approach and although we all know what is happening at the camp nearby, at the beginning, he does not. And every step he takes, he gets closer to discovering the truth, losing his childhood innocence in the process.

What I liked about this film is the sophisticated and multi-layered portrayal of the German characters. None of them are one dimensional wholly evil characters but nor are they wholly good either (not even Bruno who tells lies on several occasions, one occasion which results in brutal punishment for one of the prisoners as a consequence).

With good performances from Asa Butterfield as Bruno, Amber Beattie as his sister, David Thewlis as his father, Vera Farmiga as his mother and Jack Scanlon as Shmuel, this may not be the first film about the loss of childhood innocence in the Holocaust (Roberto Benigni beat Herman to it with "Life is Beautiful" and whilst Benigni's film has a powerful end of its own, even that does not compare to the powerful shattering ending which this film possesses) but it is the best and most effective to date.

With restrained direction by Mark Herman and a similarly restrained score from James Horner, if this film does not win the hat full of Oscars next year that it surely deserves, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will have shown itself to be completely irrelevant.
Perfectly weighted film...9/10
I'm a man's man, and it takes something really exceptional to break my emotionless machine persona. This film ripped me apart and reminded me (and my partner) of humanity inside even the most hardened man.

Perfectly weighted film in every way, from pace to acting and all framed with a wonderful score. The subtlety of the looks passing between the actors and a finale that ensured silence until the final credit rolled, makes this one of the best films i've seen in a long time.

This is the first review I have never written and i cannot think of a better way to have opened my account.