The Book Thief
A sense of doom permeates the beginning of The Book Thief, as it is narrated by non-other than death himself. In fact you don’t have to wait long for the narrator to take his first victim, but it’s the unfortunate soul that takes death’s interest but the girl who almost catches him in the act.
The girl’s name is Liesel and she is on the train, traveling towards a destination she knows nothing about, to begin a new life with foster parents who at first seem somewhat disappointed, and even hostile. The foster father however, Hans (Geoffrey Rush), sees a need in the child’s eye and bends down to her level and opens his heart to her.
The year is 1938 and the location is Germany. During this tumulus time, Liesel has to settle in with her adoptive parents and begin a new school. A love of books, nurtured by Hans, gives Liesel a window to the world, even if its one not encouraged by the growing Nazi presence.
About the time Liesel is settled into her new life, and you’ve forgotten the foreboding nature of having death narrate, Hans and his wife Rosa take in a half staved Jew and hide him in the basement. The shadow of death rears it’s ugly head again.
But The Book Thief has more than a few twists in store, and towards the end, packs some serious emotional punch. It’s a tale that has some subtle and not-to-subtle messages about different facets of humanity, and whist not being a traditional war story, stands tall in a genre along with the likes of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, as being a well made film that forces us to look at war from the view point of it’s smallest victims.
Rating: PG Violence.
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