The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Holocaust Porn

There’s a quick route to the Oscars’ Night podium, and it is to have a movie with Nazis and death camps; for Nazis and Death Camps are considered the height of human indecency and cruelty and to have any story set against that background is worthy of nominations.

For some reason, this film didn’t get close, but it might be because the main character is the son of a SS officer, and there’s no redeeming that boy let alone his family.

Now, for the spoiler alert. Don’t read on if you intend on watching this tripe without knowing what happens!

What’s Good About It

It’s a peculiar kind of gallows humour, but I found it funny that the SS soldier’s tragedy was that his son died in the gas chamber. We get to the end and we understand it is deeply tragic, but we’re also talking about the family member of an SS officer in charge of a death camp. A DEATH CAMP. It’s actually a moment I was reduced to howling laughter. It’s just too funny.

It’s not like the main character German kid is a terribly likable kid. He’s just an ordinary kid who misunderstands the world he lives in and gets to die with his friend. It’s not so much tragic as comic.

David Thewliss as the SS daddy is cool. He’s always good value on the screen.

What’s Bad About It

The problem with this film is that the fiction is so bad, no amount of directing and acting and editing and lighting and craft in general was going to rescue it from it crappiness as a concept. It’s simply an attempt to polish a turd.

This film is just so cloying I found most of it objectionable. They work hard to make the Nazi family look normal, but when daddy gets Heil-Hitler-ed in his full SS regalia, it’s just too much to swallow. I never liked any of the characters and the whole thing was turgid and stupid in that you knew nothing good was going to come of it, and really, it trivialises Nazism itself by only showing a corner of the death camp for most part until the final reel when Bruno goes in to the camp.

It’s intellectually dishonest to show a death camp without the immediate threat of Nazi SS guards with machine guns and dogs and the smoke stack pouring out plumes of mass murder into the sky. To not even attempt to show it in its full hellishness just sucks.

And I say this as somebody who isn’t Jewish at all.

What’s Interesting About It

It didn’t win any Oscars.

Goes to show the Academy isn’t that stupid.

‘Mein Kampf’ As Source Text

If Hitler was collecting royalties, he’d b happy by the amount of words these Holocaust movies quote his book.This film quotes sections in scenes where a Nazi ideologue ‘educates’ the children into the ways of the Nazi philosophy by making them digest the odious book. The problem is that apart from our own disapproval of Hitler and Nazism, there is nothing to reflect upon in the text.

The film ‘Max’ quoted ‘Mein Kampf’ extensively to illuminate what a sick little mind Adolf Hitler possessed, and went to great lengths to find the human frailty in the boisterous chest thumping rhetoric. This film has no such gusto. It just flops bits of ‘Mein Kampf’ to be part of a palimpsest. It seems more gratuitous than appropriate.

You start to wonder why gratuitous action in action movies is so looked down upon when gratuitous ideologising in these Holocaust movies get a free pass even when they are equally gratuitous. The artistic pretension is disgusting.

What One Rabbi Thinks

Here’s a review of the book this film is based upon. I quote this bit for it seems pertinent:

My Auschwitz friend read the book at my urging. He wept, and begged me tell everyone that this book is not just a lie and not just a fairytale, but a profanation. No one may dare alter the truths of the Holocaust, no matter how noble his motives.

I think that sums it up.

On some level I wish they’d stop making movies with Nazis and death camps. They can never do it any justice for censorship reasons – the reality is too obscene for the screen – so why keep putting up fakes and forgeries? Profanation indeed.

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Filed under Cinema, Film, Movies

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