Based on the book by John Boyne, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
didn’t really get the box office recognition it deserves on its theatrical release, struggling to find a foothold amidst a stampede of blockbusters. But this is a film that, surely, is ripe for discovery on DVD.
Directed with care and diligence by Mark Herman, whose CV includes the excellent Brassed Off! and Little Voice, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is set during the Second World War, in and around a Nazi concentration camp. It tells its tale through the eyes of two young boys. One is the son of the camp’s commandant, while the other is wearing the striped pyjamas of the title.
The two boys meet and ultimately befriend one another, and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas tells the difficult story of their companionship. It does it extremely well, too, careful to understate proceedings and demonstrate a restraint that serves the subject matter well. It’s also quite a lean film, and one boasting excellent performances, including David Thewlis as the aforementioned commandant.
If The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas has a problem or two, they pale in comparison to its strengths. For this is a tightly directed, moving film, that does real justice to the terrific book it’s derived from. It’s not always an easy watch, but it's very memorable.--Jon Foster
Berlin, 1942. Eight-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that his father was promoted and he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Then he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pajamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation, as their secret meetings result in a friendship that has startling and devastating consequences. Synopsis
Based upon the novel by John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
is a heart-wrenching tale of an unlikely friendship that forms between the son of a concentration camp commander and a young Jewish boy during World War II. Directed by renowned British filmmaker Mark Hermon (Little Voice
, Brassed Off
) the film features a cast that includes Vera Farmiga (The Departed
, Breaking and Entering
) and David Thewlis (Mike Leigh's Naked
, The Big Lebowski
). Stills from The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (click for larger image).