I had been reading the reviews of the movie "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas" and decided it wasn't for me. So I went to the mall and to be totally stupid, bought a ticket for Transporter 3. I walked by the movie "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas." My movie wasn't starting for ten minutes, so what the heck? I walked in and watched from the aisle.
OK. I get it. An 8 year old boy who is the son of an Officer in the SS moves with his parents to "the farm" that his father is in charge of. He walks to the farm and sees an 8 year old boy sitting behind the barbed wire. Not for me. I get up and walk into Transporter 3. I sit there, hating myself for not being strong enough to watch the damn film, and what happens? The movie won't start. People are yelling, booing, and I realize this is not my crowd; this is not where I belong.
I get up and walk back into the Boy In the Striped Pajamas.
This is the story of Bruno, whose father is an SS Officer, and Shumel, who is in a camp with his father who was a watchmaker. Bruno has been told that the camp is a farm, and the people wearing clothes with numbers on them are playing a game. The barbed wire fence is to keep the animals in he is told. Bruno is not allowed near the farm, but of course his curiosity cannot keep him away. Bruno is bored- he has no friends at home, and but for an older sister who is buying the Hitler Youth propaganda their tutor is feeding them, he has no one to play with.
Bruno walks through the woods to the camp where he meets Shumel through the barbed wire and they become friends. Through the eyes of this eight year old, we watch him try and make sense of the camp/farm and his friend Shumel, who "luckily" gets to play the game. Bruno watches through the window one day when he father screens a propaganda film of the camp, complete with the cafeteria, concerts, and a walk of stones that show children happily playing on. Those stones are briefly shown again at the end of the movie, and it is indeed a haunting scene.
This movie does not go the way one would think. There is no sudden realization by Bruno as to what is going on and there is no tearful parting scene as Bruno watches as Shumel gets led off to the gas chamber. No sappy concentration camp ending here. But what does happen during the last twenty minutes becomes quickly evident as the final scene unfolds. The ending is not a surprise, but it is spellbinding as the movie relentlessly marches towards what becomes a forgone conclusion once a rubicon is crossed.
And then the screen fades slowly to dark and the movie is over, and people in the theatre are just sitting there, exhausted, silently crying, shaken in a Shakespearean tragedy circa Germany 1940.
I'll post some picks in the comments section if I can bring myself to think about football, but I wouldn't trust them. Not with the way I'm feeling right now.
See You In Court Monday.