The Book Thief Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 10/10
A story I am better for having experienced has got to be a rare movie indeed. The Book Thief came at me with no idea what it was about or what to expect. From the opening moments I was hooked and kind of in love. Yes, movies can do that to me, it’s not weird at all. What made it so interesting for me? First, the overall quality of the whole thing is part of it, obviously. The sets and costumes and the cinematography set a time and place that I am familiar with only through other movies and other media, but with a certain variable I never expected. WWII Germany wasn’t just the enemy of many nations, or of the world, it was a place where people were living and surviving, and just trying to get along. They were raising families and trying to feed everyone, keep their businesses open, trying to maintain their social and cultural identity. This story comes through the experiences of a young girl. She sees the war from a different angle.

She is taken to Germany as a foster child of sorts to a couple who are struggling through war-time just like everyone else. He’s compassionate to a fault and she, the hardened wife, is toughened up by what has clearly been a very relentless life through those decades of Germany’s history.  They are caught between their lives and the crushing oppression of Hitler’s regime. Trying to skirt the line between being good German loyalists and being just people helping people, including a Jewish young man hiding in their basement.

It might seem like a straight forward story, but it so interesting, beyond the obvious stuff like how people need to rise up against evil leaders but how they can’t because it’s a matter of living and being part of the meat grinder of political bullying.

The books and words and language used in the movie give us all something to identify with. Our young heroine has a hard time reading, so learning with the help of her new father, and the refugee in the basement, she finds books open the world up to her. The control of information is a key element of how a society can be beaten down, suffocated, beaten in to submission. That’s only one thing that really hits home when watching The Book Thief.

The performances are ALL fantastic. I can’t fault anyone for anything at all. Every word and every gesture is convincing, natural, high quality. Sophie Nelisse is the star of the show, and holds her own against the stunning performances by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. Did I mention I can’t find fault with this movie at all? So, it’s  hard to write much more other than, well, just watch it and appreciate it, and see if it adds anything to your view of this life….I’m not a romantic, life is beautiful, type of person, but when you encounter a story that has some meaning beyond the screen, it’s a good thing to admit that it has an impact.

Features: 7/10

  • A Hidden Truth: Bringing The Book Thief To Life – A thirty minute collection of featurettes, which cover most of the aspects of the film. Even John Williams gets a segment about the films amazing score.
  • Deleted Scenes – Six minutes of deleted scenes that are interesting but were deleted for a reason.
  • UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: /10
Good cover and just because I love the movie so much I would have this as a poster, of course. The menu is just a menu.

Audio & Video: 8/10
The Book Thief is presented on Blu-Ray in 1080P using the AVC codec. This is a very good looking movie filmed digitally and every ounce of detail is brought over to the small screen. Shadow detail suffers slightly in the darker scenes but is a problem with digital photography not the actual transfer. Most of the film takes place in drab and dark basements but somehow the cinematographer brings the image to life.

Audio is also impressive using the lossless DTS-HD 5.1 codec. The scenes towards the end when Germany is being bombed (spoilers) are super impressive with sounds actually coming from above you. Dialog is super clear and centered and John William’s impressive score is mixed subtlety into the background where it belongs.

Overall Score 10/10