Germany, 1941. The German government has started their final solution campaign and is looking for men to fill important positions in their plan. They land on an officer and father who goes by the name Ralf (David Thewlis). They instruct him to move himself and his family to from the city streets of Germany to the countryside of Poland. This is where 8 year old Bruno (Asa Butterfield) spots something out of his window that affects the family forever. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a movie that is so gripping you can feel the emotion through the screen.
When you first look at the cast list, there aren’t too many outstanding names. Now this usually is a telltale sign of a movie that has quite the large opportunity for failure, but in the case of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas however, these actors show there skill in full force. Rupert Friend (Lieutenant Kotler) is one of these such actors. In about half of his scenes, he is seen screaming at Jewish prisoners in such a way that it would make a mighty giant feel as if he was as small and insignificant as a pebble. Even when we look at the younger actors, Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon (Shmuel), their light shines through the silver screen as well. There are multiple scenes where Butterfield, then 10, perfectly portrays how any normal, innocent child would react to situations such as turning the blame for something bad onto a friend or seeing something strange for the first time.
There are specific scenes in the movie where emotions feel like they are flying into your body. The actors, who hold nothing back, scream at the top of their hate filled lungs or weep uncontrollably in what is can only be described as an ocean of grief and sadness, radiate pure emotion from the screen. There is a specific scene where Rupert Friend screams and grabs at an elderly Jewish prisoner before taking him off screen where the sounds of Friend physically beating the man to death can be heard. This scene is further magnified by the fact that it was over something very minor and that the sounds of the brutal murder, clearly being heard by everyone, evoke little to almost no emotion in the other characters. This leaves any moviegoer feeling emotionally empty and hopeless.
Overall, the actors in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas perfectly portray the deep emotions that blanketed the era in which this movie was set in. The films strong actors, great direction, and gripping plot propel it far beyond anyone’s initial standard an amazing movie. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a film that has been engrained in my mind and I pray others have the sense to expose themselves to it.