24.11.2016 14:58

Review: The book thief

Autor: Petra Slavíková | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer and others

Director: Brian Percival

The story about a little girl Leisel (Sophie Nélisse) takes place during World War II in Germany. At the beginning of the war, Liesel is transferred to another town to a foster family to start a new life. Now she lives with a new dad (Geoffrey Rush) and a new mom (Emily Watson). Liesel is trying to fit in a new family and in a school, but her classmates are making fun of her because she cannot read and write. Liesel wants to change it, therefore her new daddy teaches her to read and she falls in love with reading books. She has two real friends. The first one is Rudy (Nico Liersch), her classmate. The second one is Jewish boy Max (Ben Schnetzer), who is hidden from the Nazis by Liesel´s new family in the cellar. He supports Liesel´s love for reading books.

Sophie Nélisse in The book thief. Author: Dokina.cz


The whole story is told by Death, who becomes a character you come to respect and even feel sorry for by the end. Much of what Death says is very philosophical, and even beautiful.

The performances of all the actors are admirable. I would like to highlight the performance of a sixteen-years-old actress Sophie Nelisse who played little Liesel really well. She developed her character as the time evolved during the war. The character of the mother also underwent a development. At the beginning of the movie she is very cold. The viewer does not know what to expect from her. But during the movie and the war, her character changes. Suddenly we understand why she was initially uncomfortable. Because of the war, she realized that some things are too trivial to be grumbled about. However, Liesel´s father appears as a kind and stable person from the very beginning. His warm-hearted character just gets you.

The Book Thief captures the manipulated German residents and their big enthusiasm for the war at its beginning. That enthusiasm is decreasing during the movie to the point, where we can see tears, misery and despair.

As a mistake I see English and German words often used in same sentences. For example, a sentence that begins with the word Nein, and continues in English. The author probably wanted to emphasize that the story is set in Germany, not in England. But I think all the swastikas remind us of this fact more than German words.

At some moments the story is a bit boring. But the most of the movie was very dramatic and exciting. The movie is shot in interesting colors that underline the atmosphere of this period. Music is well chosen and in tense situations well underlines the drama. Screenwriter Michael Petroni and cameraman Florian Ballhaus did a really good job. Shooting of a period movie is not easy and this screenplay is really great.

The conclusion of the movie hit me, but did not surprise me. After all it is still a war movie, and people must always remember what a man can do to a man. So I can definitely recommend watching this movie.


Score: 80%


Klíčová slova: The book thief, review, movie


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