The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

My wife and I watched the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas this past weekend. In a way it was sort of fitting that we watched it during the Fourth of July weekend. The movie was a great reminder of the freedoms of this great Nation.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is set in World War II in Germany. The two key characters in the movie are two 8 year old boys. One of the boys, Bruno, is the son of SS Commandant Ralf. The other, Shmuel, is a Jewish boy, in striped pajamas, imprisoned in a concentration camp. Ralf is the officer in charge of the concentration camp and moves his family to a house very close to the camp.

The house is so close to the concentration camp that Bruno goes exploring through the woods and finds it. This is where he meets Shmuel. The two boys talk to each other either side of the fence and become friends. Bruno is outside the fence while Shmuel is inside though they are both trapped in a sense. Both are trapped by the Nazi’s evil and hate.

The film is not a documentary nor is it based on true events. Though many scenes are very intense. There is tension within the family from Ralf’s parents disagreeing with each other about the war to Ralf’s wife, Elsa, having arguments with Ralf about the situation. The indoctrination of Bruno’s 12 year old sister, Gretel, starts and she can be seen hanging Swastika’s on her wall. The whole movie creates an atmosphere of uncomfortable tension.

Even the the two boys portray an uncomfortable innocence. Bruno betrays Shmuel, yet he is forgiven and they remain friends. They do not even realize all of the death around them. Despite the few obstacles they do realize in their circumstances their friendship keeps them going.

The ending. I will not give away the unexpected ending. It may catch the viewer off guard and stir up mixed feelings.

The movie is a great reminder of how wicked the human heart can be. It shows how people can be trapped by their own sin. It also shows how one’s sin can trap others, especially, one’s own children. I can’t help but think of how prevalent fear is in this movie. Nazi’s were fearing Jews for some reason. Rebellious Nazi family members staying silent or leaving Germany out of fear. The imprisoned Jews in fear for their lives.

Ultimately, everyone was afraid that another group of people were going to take something from their lives. Whether a life style or life itself. We are all going to die. It’s just a matter of when and how.

What a great reminder that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers a life without fear, or more importantly, a death without fear. We may say the gospel offers a life and a death of hope in something greater.

tagged as in Culture,morality

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Les Puryear July 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

This is an awesome film! I absolutely loved it.


2 Mark July 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm


I loved it too. Although it was sad.

3 Brent Hobbs July 8, 2010 at 9:33 am

We caught it on cable a few weeks ago, not knowing whether it would be worth watching or not. It was excellent on many levels: acting, direction, content. It was a powerful movie and a vivid reminder of the depths human depravity can reach.

4 Mark July 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

Brent, yep! There was an inherent tension all throughout the movie. It certainly was a good reminder of human depravity.


Previous post:

Next post: