While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. Under the stairs in her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.
The Book Thief is a surprisingly charming tale set in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which disappoints by never really going anywhere, and by failing to do anything new, original or interesting with its subject. Based on a bestselling book, I expected a little bit more, but that’s not to say this is a bad film. The performances are very likable, from the two young leads (Sophie Nelisse is really good as the titular ‘Book Thief’) to Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as the girl’s adoptive parents. The film covers of the common themes seen in this type of war film, with injustice and death playing a major part, but unlike say ‘The Pianist’ which shares some similarities, this struggles to gain your investment and it failed to move me, which is something at a bare minimum I’d expect from a film like this.
So yeah, it’s just a bit average all things considered, which is a shame. The idea of a war story narrated by death opens itself up to endless possibilities but the film never seems to take full advantage of them. I can’t compare the film to the book as I haven’t read it, but I’d be interested to see if it’s a faithful adaptation or if major plot changes have impacted on the power of the story.
Directed By: Brian Percival
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch and Roger Allam