The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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(2008) ★★

BBC2: Monday 18 May, 11.20pm

Respectable reviews in the UK, rubbished in the States. They still can’t believe they gave an Oscar to Life is Beautiful. BBC2: Monday 18 May, 11.20pm Eight-year-old Asa Butterfield thinks his dad David Thewlis is running a farm where the workers wear pyjamas. It’s a Nazi death camp and Thewlis is an SS officer. If you’re going to take an innocent (or improbably dense) child’s-eye view of the Holocaust, then it had better be as piercing and honest as the great Hungarian film Fateless. In focusing on the discomfiture of a kommandant’s family, this recalls the old music hall song Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans. It’s Kenneth Branagh’s chilling Conspiracy that should be required viewing for schoolchildren (especially in Iran), not this cosy teatime-ready entertainment. The best that can be said of it is that it’s not quite as crass as Life is Beautiful. As for young Butterfield, there was a happy ending, of sorts. He grew up to be the orphan boy in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 94min

Other Showings Time & Date
BBC2 Northern Ireland Tuesday, 19 May at 12:20AM