Thursday, February 20, 2014

THE BOOK THIEF

Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush
Emily Watson, Nico Liersch

"Courage beyond Words"


This film starts with a creepy voice over. I say creepy because it is the Grim Reaper's voice and he is narrating the story of Liesel. A bit morbid if you ask me but I figure that is how it goes in the best selling book by Markus Zusak from which this film was adapted.  

Set during the second World War in a small German town, Liesel (Sophie Nelisse)  is adopted by Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson). Her foster parents are a childless working class German couple and as the film progressed, they hide a young Jewish man in their basement.  He is the son of a former war buddy of Hans whom he credits as saving his life.

The film also mentions briefly the Holocaust - mostly in association with Max (the one hiding in the basement) but it also shows how the Third Reich banned books which they said would undermine their superior race.  It also shows how they trained the youth to be certified Nazis members. 

The actors speak English with an on and off German accent which can be a bit distracting. Yet they are still able to personify their characters with just enough emotional flair as they can muster. 

There are certain loopholes in the development of the plot.  Certain scenes carried on at length while other side plots were largely left for the audience to decipher on their own.

Perhaps as I haven't read the book, I lacked some background information which could have explained the circumstances better.  In particular, towards the end where the scriptwriters seem to have run out of time so they squeezed it everything before the credits scrolled.

Overall, the film teaches us the importance of reading and how books play such an important role in our upbringing. It also presents a perspective on the ordinary lives of the citizenry from the other spectrum of the equation - the Germans.

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