To date, this is the best film of 2008.
The film is set in in WWII Germany, and is seen through the eyes of Bruno, a German boy who is forced to move with his family from Berlin to the country where his father commands a concentration camp. While trying to adapt to his new life he quite literally stumbles upon a new friend wearing funny clothes living at the "farm" near Bruno's house. The two boys struggle to understand why they are different, why they are segregated, and why those around them view things so differently than they do.
Given that the film is shown from the perspective an eight year old boy, it is for the most part playful and innocent despite the harsh and cruel reality of the story's setting. As the plot deepens and Bruno's understanding of his surroundings widen, the tone of the film darkens. Director Mark Herman does a fabulous job of the bringing together the two contrasting worlds of innocent children with the cold reality of men.
This film will blow you away. I remember sitting in the theater after the film's end, the whole audience silent. After thirty or forty seconds of credits I had to work up the courage to be the first to break the silence and walk out. The emotional response solicited by "The Boy in Striped Pajamas" is a bold reminder that in a world of cheap thrills and short attention spans nothing can beat a good story.
Honorable mention for their performances go to Asa Butterfield for his role of Bruno and Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Manchurian Candidate) for her part as Bruno's tolerant and kind Mother.
It is no suprise that this film has climbed to a rank of No. 9 this weekend at the box office from a No. 28 opener three weeks ago. See it!
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