So I started writing this particular review about two months ago when I actually went and saw the film but for whatever reason, (let’s call it “self imposed creative stuck-in-the-mud syndrome”) I didn’t publish it. It’s only a short one but here goes anyway.
I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the book. Usually I’m one of those people that will refuse to see the film adaptation of a book until I’ve finished reading it but I really couldn’t stop myself this time. I saw Brian Percival’s rendition of Australian novelist Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (2014) about two weeks ago (now two months) and am still trying to figure out exactly how I feel about it. The film itself is, in my humble opinion, Oscar worthy for a hundred different reasons – the performances given by the actors were captivating, the cinematography was expertly executed and the costuming was superbly put together. Geoffrey Rush, as always, gave a performance that was nothing short of perfection and I wasn’t able to tear my eyes away from newcomer Sophie Nelisse, who plays the film’s protagonist Liesel. There was just something so innocent yet slightly haunting about the character as well as in the performance given by Nelisse.
Now not having read the book prior to seeing the film, I didn’t know much about the story aside from what I could glean from the trailers but I was totally engrossed. The entire film is narrated by Death and there’s just something so eloquent and interesting in what Death has to say. Like God, Death is omniscient and so has a greater perspective on death and indeed, on life. I think that the opening lines to the film really say it all. Death says “Here is a small fact: You are going to die.” Simple and to the point but alas, I’ve become distracted.
The Book Thief (2014) as a film has been brilliantly and expertly put together to create something that is both intensely emotional but also educational. Being one who hasn’t done a whole lot of study on a period of time that has so epically changed the modern world, I discovered a new side to Nazi-Germany and those who suffered through it. I have a new and deep respect for those German families who risked their lives to hide those who were being persecuted. I think that the film’s tagline “Courage beyond words” is supremely apt in the telling of this story so if you haven’t already, please go and see this film and read the book. You’ll be surprised by it.