"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." - Movie Review.

By Bob Zerull

5 Stars:

Going into this movie, all I knew was that this was a movie about two young boys who become friends during the holocaust. One is the son of a German soldier; the other is Jewish and trapped in a concentration camp. I also knew that this movie was going to be depressing. I automatically started predicting how this movie would end. I was very wrong, but this movie is in fact very depressing.



The central character is a boy named Bruno, played by Asa Butterfield. Bruno is your average eight year old boy who loves adventure and playing with his friends. Early on in the movie Bruno learns that his father who is a German Nazi soldier has been promoted and that he would have to move away from his friends.

I love the idea of using the innocence of kids to explain how horrible the situation is. Kids are able to simplify everything the way that adults can't. When Bruno's family moves, they move near a concentration camp that his father is looking over. Bruno thinks they are on a farm and that all of the Jews are farmers. Bruno's mother played by Vera Farmiga ("The Departed") wouldn't let him go in the backyard garden. Bruno's mother was against what was going on. At first she didn't realize that they were killing the Jews, when she finds out she's upset, but is unable to stand up to her husband, because that will ultimately mean her death.



Throughout most of the movie I was feeling bad for the mother, because there is nothing she can do. Her hands are tied. Really are her hands tied though? She's just looking out for number one. She's a coward; she's turning a blind eye to what is going on even though she knows what's going on is wrong. This movie never made me so happy to live in America. It doesn't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat, you have a voice and your life is not endangered for having an opinion.

SPOILERS

Bruno eventually breaks his mother's rule and sneaks into the back garden and decides to explore. Ultimately he discovers the concentration camp. He thinks it's a fun camp and that the electric fence keeping the Jews in is really there to keep the animals out. Bruno meets a boy named Shmuel played by Jack Scanlon. They quickly become friends. At one point they get caught being friends and Bruno denies being his friend which ultimately leads to punishment for Shmuel. Bruno knows he made a terrible mistake. He apologizes to Shmuel. Shmuel accepts Bruno's apology. At this point Bruno's mother feels that this isn't the best place for her and her children to be, so she convinces her husband to let her and the kids move back.

Bruno is disappointed by the news that he has to move back. As he's letting Shmuel know this, he finds out that Shmuel's dad is missing. We know that Shmuel's dad has probably been killed, but the kids don't. It is at this moment when Bruno decides to stay loyal to his friend, Shmuel. I'm not going to go any further. All I can say is that Bruno did what his mother couldn't do and that was he was very courageous.

BYLINE:

Bob Zerull is a frequent movie and concert goer who talks about his ventures to arenas and theaters more than any person should be allowed to do. Now, he puts them down on paper. Email him your thoughts at: bzerull19@gmail.com.

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