The Boy in the Striped Pajamas | Chicago Reader

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

As the Holocaust recedes into history, nudged back by more recent tolerated genocides, pat Holocaust dramas like this one begin to seem more like exercises in complacency than condemnations of it. The baldly manipulative story involves a Nazi SS officer (David Thewlis) who becomes commandant of a death camp and moves his wife (Vera Farmiga), daughter (Cara Horgan), and young son (Asa Butterfield) into a country house not far away. Roaming around, the little boy quickly finds the camp and befriends a mournful Jewish boy (Jack Scanlon) on the other side of wire. This might have had some potential as a German exercise in self-examination, but as a tony BBC Films production, with the actors all speaking British-accented English (including Jersey girl Farmiga), it reeks of self-righteousness. Mark Herman (Little Voice) directed his own script, adapting a children's novel by John Hoyne. PG-13, 93 min.

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