Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The : Movie Review

Possible Spoilers: Although this review does not explicitly reveal the ending of the movie, there are enough insinuations that one can make some assumptions about what might happen.

The Holocaust is one of the great tragedies in recent human history, so it's no surprise that a fair amount of film and literature produced over the last 60+ years has addressed the subject in one way or another. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, based on the young adult novel by John Boyne, provides a window to proceedings through the eyes of an eight-year old boy. While this perspective allows the film to represent events in an atypical fashion, it also gives The Boy in the Striped Pajamas an artificial, fairy tale quality that one could argue undermines the seriousness of the subject matter. A certain degree of sanitization is applied to the horror to make it more easily consumed - not "comfortable," to be sure, but "less uncomfortable." While the ending provides some shock value, the visceral "gut punch" impact is associated more with the specifics of the plot than the overall truth of the Holocaust, and this creates a curious sense of imbalance. If you doubt this, consider why the ending has an impact.

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Author : James Berardinelli