Friday, November 29, 2013

The Book Thief Review

The Book Thief, based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Markus Zusak, hit theaters a few weeks back. However, the distributors decided to take the limited release route at first, which was probably a smart decision with how loaded November was. It just recently made it to a wide release, so I found a theater it was in and went and saw it. I have not read the book, but after seeing the movie, I have put the book on my long list of books I want to read, because the movie is a masterpiece.

The movie is narrated by Death, which puts an interesting light on the story as it follows a young girl named Liesel in Nazi Germany during World War II. Liesel's birth mother can't care for her, so she gives her up to her new Ma and Pa. Together as a new family they are simply trying to survive. Liesel is quiet and uncomfortable at first, but she soon starts to make friends and finds solace in books that, as the title of the movie suggests, she steals. The situation starts to get really risky as the family hides a Jewish friend in their basement.

Honestly this movie moves really slow. No crazy fighting scenes. No constant explosions. No non-stop drama. But, no, this is not a bad thing. Here we have a story about a young, innocent girl living and surviving in Germany during World War II. That's it. It's a character piece that really allows us to focus on the story and the progression that all the characters go through, and that is beautiful. In order to make a movie like this work, what you need is a strong cast that can pull the movie forward and help you get attached to all the characters. The Book Thief hits a home run in that category. Our lead girl Liesel is played by young French-Canadian actress Sophie Nelisse and by goodness she is such a doll. I loved her and her character. I also loved the little boy Rudy, played by Nico Liersch, who becomes Liesel's best friend. And of course we have Geoffry Rush and Emily Watson playing Liesel's adopted parents, both of whom do a great job.

Two other areas that I want to mention before I sign off. First is cinematography. The Oscars will be a crowded place this awards season, but if The Book Thief is deserving of any Oscar nomination, the nod for cinematography is what it should get. Also, John Williams does the score in this movie, and he once again showed why he is one of the best in the business. I'd be more than willing to give him another Oscar nomination for this. But yes, The Book Thief is a great movie, and I highly recommend you find a theater near you where it is playing and give it a shot. Grade-wise it seems like I have been giving out a lot of high reviews, but that is because there have just been a lot of great movies out recently. So here I go again, The Book Thief gets a 9 out of 10 from me.

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