The Book Thief
Directed by Brian Percival
Based on the best-selling book by Australian author Markus Zusak. I was looking forward to seeing this film having enjoyed the book for its unique approach to the story of a young girl’s life in Nazi Germany in 1939 – 1943.
The Book Thief tells the story of 9 year old Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) and is narrated by the unseen character called Death. Death first encounters Liesel when her brother dies, and he hangs around long enough to watch her steal her first book, The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left lying in the snow by her brother’s grave.
Liesel is sent to live with foster parents Hans Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush) and wife Rosa (Emily Watson) after her mother disappears. Liesel tries to make sense of the worsening situation the Nazis have on everyday German life. Liesel becomes best friends with a neighbourhood boy called Rudy who she trusts and confides in. The illiterate Liesel, is taught to read and write by the very kind and patient Hans using The Gravediggers Handbook. Her love of reading leads her to steal another book this time from a pile being burnt by the Nazis. Danger threatens when Max (a Jew) is on the run and seeks refuge with the Hubermanns.
Great performances, particularly from Sophie Nélisse who was mesmerising.
The Book Thief is directed by Brian Percival, who previously made episodes of Downton Abbey. His direction is safe and plays down the emotional highlights in favour of a very restrained approach.
Verdict: It’s a wonderful story with terrific performances but I can’t help feeling a little bit disappointed.
For more information about The Book Thief including the trailer and session times near you visit IMDB.com
Image from IMDB.com