It may span the most significant decades of last century, but The Book Thief pretty much boils down to girl-lives-with-family, girl-learns-to-read – for two hours.

Over John William’s all-pervading score, little Liesel experiences the mundanity of warfare, touching only briefly on Nazi horrors and more considerably on the wonder(!) of literacy.

On the page, Death serving as narrator might make sense; on screen it doesn’t. Tension is rare and interest fleeting; montages are a regular guest but they struggle to disguise the ponderous nature of Brian Percival’s direction.

Still, the Christmas scene is nice.

Death narrates her… unfortunately.

Rating: 2/5


CAST: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Nico Liersch

DIRECTOR: Brian Percival

WRITERS: Michael Petroni, Markus Zusak

SYNOPSIS: An illiterate German girl goes to live with a foster family at the beginning of World War II, where her life changes forever.