Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2009
A Disney movie about the Holocaust? Yes, I know, but read on. The story is seen through the eyes of a naïve 8-year-old German boy (Asa Butterfield) whose dad (David Thewlis) happens to run Auschwitz. Lacking playmates, the boy makes friends, across an electrified fence, with a young prisoner (Jack Scanlon). The climax, which you will not hear about from me, is effective and shocking, although its setup is a tad contrived. The general premise is strained, but the approach is fresh, the acting subtle and believable. Of course it’s all greatly sanitized—it is a Disney movie—but somehow it all works.