The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (1 star)

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(12A) 93min

Bruno (Asa Butterfield) is the nine-year-old son of a Nazi Commandant (David Thewlis). When his father is seconded to manage a concentration camp in a remote area of the Fascist empire, the lonely Bruno makes a new friend, Schmuel (Jack Scanlon), beyond the high wire. But will the innocence of their friendship survive the last panicked days of the Nazi Holocaust?

Based on John Boyne’s bewilderingly successful novella this is the kind of badly acted, clumsily directed, liberal-guilt-monger-sweeping-cod-historical-nonsense that went out of fashion with Esperanto, Europudding and worthy, endless issue-led US TV mini series’ (usually directed by Marvin J Chomsky, go on look him up).

Adapted and directed with typical tedious forthrightness by Yorkshireman Mark Herman (Brassed Off, Little Voice) this boring, unnecessary film is a strained, cynical step into the no doubt lucrative market of Holocaust pseudo porn.

General release from Fri 12 Sep.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

  • 1 star
  • 2008
  • US/UK
  • 1h 33min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Mark Herman
  • Cast: Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend

Bruno (Butterfield) is the nine-year old son of a Nazi Commandant (Thewlis). When his father is seconded to manage a concentration camp, the lonely Bruno makes a new friend, Schmuel (Scanlon), beyond the high wire. Badly acted and clumsily directed, this liberal-guilt-monger-sweeping-cod-historical-nonsense is simply…


1. EoGuy4 Sep 2008, 5:09pm Report

You mentioned the following " ... that went out of fashion with Esperanto"

Esperanto is alive and well, thank you very much, and in use daily in many places in the world. Pope Benedict XIV delivers messages in Esperanto. There were even Esperanto translators at the latest Olympics.

In fact, William Auld, a Scot IIRC, was world famous in the Esperanto world - Esperantujo, and was submitted for a Nobel Prize.

Vilchjo de Mesao Arizono, Usono

2. Elizabeth Stanley5 Sep 2008, 4:43pm Report

Went out of fashion with Esperanto? The only reason I've heard of you is because you used the word Esperanto! Please take a couple of minutes to type Esperanto into a search engine and you will find it flourishing on the Internet.

I haven't seen the film: the book was great - but the book relies on you gradually working out what the child is talking about, whereas in a film it would be obvious, so I can imagine that would be a problem.

Incidentally, large numbers of Esperanto speakers were wiped out in the Holocaust. Hitler wasn't exactly wild keen on a language that treated everyone as equals.......

3. Brian Barker7 Sep 2008, 12:26pm Report

Talking of fashion, did you see the Littlewoods television advert in Esperanto? Bill Shatner's Esperanto was much better in his film "Incubus" athough Bill Shatner was not the first Hollywood star to use Esperanto.

Charlie Chaplin used it in "The Great Dictator" on all the shop signs, and Laurel & Hardy used it their film "The Road to Morocco".

Parts of Charlie Chaplin's Esperanto contribution can be seen on

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