Plot: It’s war time in Germany. Bruno doesn’t understand what is going on. He knows his father is important, but all their move to the country seems to have done is brought misery to his entire family. His sister has changed and his mother is sad.
There is violence and misery in the air that Bruno doesn’t understand. All he knows is how to cling to an innocence that’s being torn from his generation. And that innocent comes from befriending another young boy. One who is trapped on the wrong side of a fence Bruno doesn’t know the meaning of.
Quote: `We’re not supposed to be friends, you and me. We’re meant to be enemies. Did you know that?`
Opinion: This film needs some sort of warning on it. I have never cried so much at the end of a film ever. I have not read the book so this review will contain no comparisons about which is better. All I know is that I went and re-wrote my review on The Book Thief after watching this film simply because it showed how a film about this era set from that point of view could be done to have an enormous impact on the emotions.
The plot is simple. A boy does not understand why he can’t be friends with someone his age. That’s all there is to it really. But the emotional implications and the way the film is shot adds so much power to that message. Everything is shown through Bruno’s eyes. His sheer innocence makes it all the more traumatic because while he is asking why, us as the audience know precisely what he is witnessing without realising.
The acting is phenomenal. The rest of the cast must be given nods of approval, but the main talent truly rests with Asa Butterfield. Having seen the film, I can think of no better young actor to play the part of Bruno. He brings to light the sheer innocence of Bruno’s mind, while portraying the dread that something isn’t quite right. Considering the emotional impact the film has, Butterfield deserves to have far more recognition for this role than he did have.
The first thing I noticed about the film was just how British it was. But then I didn’t mind. Unless you’re going to have everyone talking German, there is never going to be real authenticity. What annoyed me about the Book Thief was the accents while talking the wrong language. It was jarring. But this film didn’t even try, and it meant you could forget about it rather than being constantly reminded. The content set the scene, the voices did not need to aid to that.
While I couldn’t face watching this film again, it is truly a phenomenal one. Anything that can make me cry that much has clearly done something right. Sometimes it’s plot, other times characterisation or actors. For this film, it was because they got the combination of all three completely spot on.