The Book Thief – based on the novel by Markus Zusak
While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.
As with any adaptation, details are inevitably shaved off in favour of a more rounded, flowing format. This film suffers from that treatment whilst still managing to hold on to Zusak’s heart-warming tale, delivering an enjoyable movie on the whole.
I think when you’ve read the book, scenes in your head are unique to the reader. When Liesel first approaches the Mayor’s house to deliver washing, I had a dejavu. What I saw on screen was exactly what was in my head when I read the book – bizarre!
Moments I remembered or waited for, were missed out or merged to allow content flow. Such as how Liesel stole the books with Rudy, from the Mayor’s wife. Also, I felt that the unspoken relationship between the Mayor’s wife and Liesel could have been depicted better. The book which was thrown into to river was the Hitler book, however, in the novel it was one of the stolen books.
The marches of the Jews through the town, and what Hans and Liesel did were innacurate in the movie which was slightly disappointing. I realise that these scenes could have been quite harrowing, but the direction to soften these scenes surely left out some potentially powerful moments on screen.
Max’s hand-written books, (he did for Liesel in the basement), did not feature. There could have been some lovely moments, of say black & white or sepia animations to depict those little stories within the movie.
Despite my criticism, I thought it was well portrayed overall with great performances from Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Roger Allam, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer.
Here’s the trailer…