"I'm always finding humans at their best and their worst," concludes Death, narrator of the new film, The Book Thief, "I see their ugliness and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both."
"I am haunted by humans."
The Oscar-nominated film The Book Thief is indeed a haunting look at humanity, although an unexpected one for a World War II film.
The film opens in 1938 as a train barrels across Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger and her brother are soon to be settled in a foster home. Liesel hums a lullaby, and next to her, her mother holds her younger brother's listless body. Suddenly, he is glassy-eyed. "Mama!"
"It's not what you call a soft opening, to meet this 10-year-old girl whose 6-year-old brother dies on page one," says Geoffrey Rush, who plays the role of Liesel's foster father, Hans Hubermann. "Then in the next scene, her mother's a Communist and gets taken away. I can't think ...1