The Book Thief (2013)


Director: Brian Percival

Synopsis: The Book Thief starts with a voice that we soon find belongs to the Angel of Death. He talks about his job and how many people he meets, but there is one human in particular who caught his attention. This is how we are introduced to Liesel Meminger. She is a young girl who is on a train with her mother and brother. The date is April of 1983. Her brother dies on the train and they are dropped off early so that they can bury him. Liesel and her mother are shocked and crying. As one of the grave-diggers digs the grave he drops a book. This is the first book that Liesel steals. Liesel is taken from her mother to her new foster parents, the Hubermann’s.  This movie continues to follow the life of Liesel as she grows up. Her next door neighbor Rudy becomes her best friend and he sticks to her side through ups and downs. When Liesel first arrives at the Hubermann’s her new father finds that she has not learned to read. They build a strong connection working their way through the Grave Diggers Handbook (the book she had stolen while her brother was being buried). Her new mother is harder to get along with, but as the strains of war affect the Hubermann’s Liesel sees her mothers love for her despite her harsh words and short temper. When Max, the son of Mr. Humbermann’s old friend, and also a Jew, comes to their house for help they house him. They are scared of being caught, but the addition of Max brings their family together. Liesel brings out the best of those around her. She learns to use her eyes and words to bring joy, peace, and distraction from the terrible events of war.

Review: I had read half of the book before I had seen the movie so I did not know how the ending was going to play out. This movie was a good combination of emotions. The story structure followed a classical style. They presented all of the events in chronological order. The editing used a lot of cutting continuity to tell the story and allow the audience to track as if the events were really happening, but also knowing that what is being shown is relevant and important to the plot. Some of the fun camera things that I noticed were that they used switching from shallow focus to deep focus right after each other to draw attention to something far away and then zero in on what was close the whole time but was out of focus until they switched. One thing that I did not think fit as well was the voice of the Angel of Death. In the book the voice was used a lot more and flowed well throughout the story, but in the movie it was not used very much and it did not feel very harmonious with the other way they told the story. But, I would put this movie on my list of movies that I would watch again.


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