Directed by Brian Percival
Screenplay by Michael Petroni
Released: 8th November 2013
Distributors: 20th Century Fox
Just arrived home from the cinema, I immediately had to switch my laptop on and get typing.
I don’t want to spoil this film for anyone who hasn’t read the book, or seen the film, so I will sum up my thoughts in a general sense first and then I will warn you to not continue to avoid spoilers.
The film was wonderfully done. For me, it stayed faithful enough to the book, and took the tone of the book to screen perfectly. What I enjoyed the most from the book was Liesel’s relationships with the people in her life. Those relationships were enunciated on to the screen beautifully.
I hadn’t seen any trailers, or clips from the film prior to watching it this evening. I did this mainly so I could read the book without any outside influences, I wanted to imagine the people’s faces, the way they spoke, the way their street looked before I saw a projection of someone else’s. I sometimes find that I didn’t like a film as much because the images on screen were vastly different from my own, or I would have chosen to do something differently. This wasn’t a film that made me feel that way.
I thought Geoffrey Rush that plays Hans Hubermann, Liesel’s papa, made this film brilliant. He brought this character to life, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him. I thought each actor brought their characters to the screen well, and I felt that they were faithful to them. The only thing that disappointed me was death’s narrating voice, but then again, that’s probably because ‘deaths’ voice would be personal to each reader. To watch the film without reading and hearing death’s voice for myself, I probably wouldn’t have had any aversions to it.
The film is quite fast paced. I assume this is because I’ve read the book which is quite heavy and full, and then seen the diluted version. As a stand-alone film I thought the pace was good. It didn’t linger to long and lose the viewer. The dialogue was great, every line had a purpose and I enjoyed hearing some of my favourite lines from the book on the screen.
The producers of the film took, what I felt, were the most pivotal plot points and presented them well. Obviously when adapting a novel there will be a lot of little things lost due to time constraints, but I felt the producers didn’t leave anything out that I felt would have made the film work better. There was one section of the film that I thought needed to be embellished a little more to show Liesel’s passion for books and words immediately. However, this passion does come across more powerfully a little later.
I would definitely recommend giving the film a go, whether you’ve read the book or just like the sound of the film. If I’d have seen the film first I’d be downloading the book to my kindle in the car home, so from that I felt the film did the book justice.
Also, if you haven’t read the book: I have written a review, link.
I’m going to discuss more detailed pieces of the film now so continue reading at your own risk.
To embellish a little more from what I mentioned earlier; the section of the film that I thought could have been developed more was Liesel’s experience with The Gravedigger’s Handbook. I felt that had been rushed a little and it wasn’t as important to her as it was in the book. However, if I hadn’t read the book I don’t think I would have thought this. I just felt that it was a really pivotal moment for Liesel in the book, her learning to read, that it was almost skimmed over too quickly in the film.
There were many scenes that I thought were brilliant, specifically the scene when the officer came to check to see if the basement was suitable for an air raid shelter. It was tense, and held my breath despite knowing the outcome.
I can’t discuss the film without mentioning the ending – marvellous. I thought it was done really well, it read on screen exactly as the book. I’m glad too, as I think I would have been really disappointed if I’d literally seen every one of the characters as they die. I saw the scene on the screen as I did in my head, and It took my breath away just as it did in the book. I must admit if I wasn’t in the cinema I would have bawled my eyes out.
I’m going to have to stop here before I continue to waffle on for the rest of your life.
If you haven’t seen it, please grab your coats, and hurry to your nearest cinema before they stop showing this film. It’ll be a long wait for the DVD!