Movie Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Movie Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

By Kismat Herr

A unique name for a one of a kind movie. The setting is of Nazi Germany. A time when there was nothing higher than Hitler, not even god, a time when humans were treated worse than vermin in fact Jews didn’t even fit the ‘human’ category for them.The movie starts with an 8-year-old boy playing with his friends in Berlin. Games, that’s all that matters to them, enjoying their lives, the sounds of their innocent laughter drowned the harsh reality outside the walls of the kingdom of their childhood.

The brilliant direction of the movie gives us a beautiful insight in this boy’s life. How he believes that his father who is a high-ranking soldier in Hitler’s army is a good man doing good deeds simply to protect his ‘Fatherland’ and for their better future. It’s quite interesting how this German Boy’s (Bruno) perception slowly starts changing after he befriends a Jew boy (Shmuel) from a concentration camp.What starts as simple confusion later becomes something that questions the whole fundamental of not only hating Jews but the reason behind it too. There is a drastic change within him and his 12-year-old sister after they start getting home schooled by their teacher (In a new city, close to the concentration camp). She becomes more patriotic and believes that Jews must be killed for the betterment of their society and future whereas Bruno doesn’t share the same opinion.He is at a tender and influenceable stage in life yet he sees the good in Shmuel and Pavel, an old Jew working in their house. He treats them just like any other person. It is another experience to see how an innocent boy can see the wrong that in being done and adults simply fail to see that at the end of the day they all are just humans, practicing different religions. 

Days pass quickly and cheerfully for Bruno as he goes to meet Shmuel every day. They play chess and he sneaks out food for his little Jewish friend. They laugh and forget reality for a few hours just the way normal childhood should be like. The electric fence between them, just for those few hours, can’t hold back the bond that forms between them. Something they would cherish for a long time to come.

This is a story that will make your heart wrench in pain every time a Jew is not even considered to be human and treated like garbage. Every actor’s role, big or small has been executed excellently, bring out the true depth and pain of the story.The ending of the movie is something that you can never predict, it will leave you with tears and pain.