Thursday, November 28 2013, 01:47 PM MST
Movie Review: The Book Thief
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Brian Percival
Starring: Sophie Nlisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson
Genre: Drama, War
Recommended To: Those willing to accept a flawed adaptation that captures the themes but not the magic of Markus Zusaks novel.
Synopsis: Set against the horrors of World War II Germany, Liesel, a young girl, finds relief in stolen novels and the company of the Jewish refugee hidden in the basement of her adoptive parents home.
Review: Markus Zusaks novel is one of my favorite books. Sadly its imaginative approach, which casts Death as the books narrator, goes mostly unutilized as director Brian Percival's film opts for a more straightforward narrative with only the occasional intrusion by Death. I don't know if this decision was made by screenwriter Michael Petroni or Percival, but either way the choice robs the film of much of the books atmosphere. Still, The Book Thief is a decent film as it makes some of the horrors of World War II Germany accessible to a wider audience. It might fall short of being a great film, but it at least remains a conversation starter. It also celebrates the therapeutic power of reading, even in the face of the incredible brutality of war. The cast, which features Geoffrey Rush and Emil Watson, is quite good and the general effects, art direction and cinematography are quite striking. Now if they could have only captured the unique qualities of the book I would have been more pleased with the experience.
-Ryan Michael Painter