Friday, February 28, 2014

The Book Thief, Poignant and Profound

I don't generally review films. I am making an exception today. I just saw The Book Thief. It was profound beyond words. What really got me was the depiction of Death as a character. Why you may ask. Well I depicted Death in a couple of my novels and today realised that this film blew my depictions out of the water. Really. I am honest enough to know when I meet my betters.

Death, looking down upon the horror that was Nazi Germany is in a unique position to impart great knowledge to us. We see his compassion as he goes about his business, always with the feeling that he is perhaps just doing what must be done. He feels for the people he takes. And really, who better to narrate a story about World War Two than Death?

The Book Thief of the title is a young girl who is taught to read by her adoptive father. Her adoptive parents are kindly people who not only take her in but hide a young Jewish man in their cellar. During an air raid when the village is being bombed, the young man breaks free from his protective prison to admire a starlit sky. I found that so moving as Death describes the moment in beautifully evocative words.

The acting, direction and story are well done. This is a film to savor--an unforgettable film about one of the worst times in history. We see the sorrow Death feels for all the innocents. This compassion made him heroic. It is something I cannot stop thinking about.

The author is Markus Zusak. I just bought the book I am happy to say.

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