I Am David (2003) Poster

(2003)

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9/10
A courageous journey...
Tom_Nashville21 October 2003
Does an actor have to be a Laurence Olivier or a Robert De Niro to be a so-called 'great' actor? Not necessarily. Consider young Ben Tibber, who portrays the central character of this film, I Am David. Ben does more acting, often without saying a word, than I have noticed in a film for a long while. All throughout the film, the mood of the scene is set just by the expression on his face, especially his eyes, and he can change it in an instant. I watched this young actor in total amazement. We follow David on his solo journey of escape from a brutal communist labor camp to a land very vague in his mind, Denmark. There are many beautiful scenes of colorful villages and towns, fields of sunflowers and sweeping vistas of the hills and valleys that we share with David, in sharp contrast to the horrifying memories of life in the labor camp, that haunts him. Those that helped him escape gave him one primary rule: don't trust anyone! As David travels along the roads to his destiny he meets many characters along the way and we wonder, will he, or should he, trust this person? As the viewer, we desperately want somebody to comfort and assist this wonderful boy. The veteran actress, Joan Plowright, splendidly portrays one of those characters that David encounters; but can he confide in her to help him on his way? The director and screenwriter, Paul Feig, doesn't rush the story, although it does move very quickly at the end. Mostly, he lets us observe David as the boy wisely and carefully analyzes each situation as it develops. The end of the film wraps up nicely with a very surprising and interesting revelation of the storyline. I watched this film at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and had great expectations upon going in to see it. I was not disappointed. I Am David, is an outstanding film.
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8/10
Surprisingly well adapted... as moving as the novel.
playgrrrll21 July 2005
I have read Anne Holm's I am David dozens of times since I first stumbled upon it as a 12 year old. It has been one of those novels that have remained with me, not just the pages, not just the story, but the way it has moved me and guided many of my decisions in life. I personally empathised with David, having been an abused child and when at 13 I became a state ward, the impossibility of trusting others to care for me were mirrored in David's own situation. This just to demonstrate how significant this work has been in my own development and connected I am with David's story.

When I heard there was a film made of this story, I was suspicious that it could not hope to reach the depths of the novel, particularly as one of the fundamental points of the novel had been changed and primarily because much of the 'action' in the novel occurs inside David's mind.

The film is significantly different to the novel in a few key details and yet it has managed to capture the essential soul of the novel, something I applaud and profoundly appreciate. Whilst the means of achieving the result is different, I was still left, as I always am when I read the story, with a deep sense of truth and love winning out over darkness and hatred. I was moved to tears once again and for all the same reasons and for that I would just like to say thank you to those involved.

I could not recommend this novel or film more deeply, particularly to those who's lives have been controlled by others who don't have their best interests at heart and who feel unable to regain control themselves. This above all things is a tribute to the ability of one who has no control and no idea how to gain control of their own lives succeeding in just that, without use of force, without manipulation or dishonesty, but simply with conviction that the goal must be achieved for whatever reason, because to not achieve it is to invite death and darkness upon yourself and upon all you touch in your life.
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10/10
Brilliant!
leslie-gyi6 December 2004
Loved the Movie! One of the most faithful renditions of a book to screen....gripping adventure....wonderful scenery, great characters, heartfelt acting, both funny and sad at the same time. Beautiful Photography, many of the scenes would be great standalone still photos. Felt like I went on vacation in Europe watching this picture. About time we have a movie without gratuitous sex and violence, and a break from reality programming, that has come to the point of offering live, real-time war as an option. Am surprised that many of the professional reviews seem to have been written by people with no background for this type of movie, and just don't get it. Waiting to see more from this director, Paul Feig.
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10/10
David's Story.... A Warm Touch Like Few Others
jgbush18 August 2005
This movie speaks to the purest parts of the soul, beckoning the viewer to take not just a journey with David, but to the innermost parts of themselves.

If you know someone who is crying out to be heard and understood, someone desperately seeking a safe person to reach out to but doesn't know how to take that first step.....encourage them to go on a journey with this young boy through a harrowing physical and emotional journey of his life.

This movie touched me in a way that very few have. In fact, it moved me so much I had to tell many friends and family members and they too agreed...it is a beautiful story to watch and celebrate. Some have emailed me the day after and said...."We were up late at night with our son...clapping and crying during the final scenes." To the cast and crew of this film....thanks for using your talents to warm our hearts and help us believe again in the good hearts of those around us.
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7/10
Yeah, you blend
David Ferguson24 November 2004
Greetings again from the darkness. A very touching, heartfelt film without the Hollywood gloss, "I Am David" takes us on a journey of hope and discovery. We get to experience the world through the eyes of a first timer. Ben Tibber (a child actor well-schooled at the Tiny Tim role) follows the advice he is given prior to his escape from concentration camp as his journey takes him throughout Europe. While in the camp, David befriends Jim Caviezel ("The Passion of the Christ" and the upcoming Bobby Jones biopic). Caviezil's courageous death sets in motion the plan to allow for David's escape. Tibber's expressive eyes and the breathtaking countryside scenery carry the film until Joan Plowright explodes on the screen. The movie really gains spirit at this point, but regrettably, this is also where it appears the producers ran out of money. The last 10 minutes of the film are harried and rushed with little dialogue. The result is a wonderful ending spoiled. Still, the film is a delight to watch and will tug at your heartstrings as you admire and pull for David to complete his journey. Couldn't help but notice that at the concentration camp, The Man is played by Bulgarian actor Hristo Shopov, who also played (to a chilling effect) Pontius Pilate is "The Passion of the Christ".
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10/10
A True Work of Art -- More than a Movie
Ben Schwenk9 July 2005
There's just so much to say about "I am David" that I feel like I can't get it all in. From the directing, to the script; from the photography to the acting... it all just works.

This movie is a breath of fresh air from the Hollywood machine that churns out lifeless epics, tasteless comedies, and meaningless dramas in the name of money. "I Am David" aims not to collect big at the box office, but to convey passion and art through cinema.

It follows the escape of a young boy named David from a concentration camp during the Bulgarian War. Carrying only a small satchel with a mysterious envelope and a few other items, David sets across the countryside to reach Denmark. He doesn't know (and neither do we until the end) why he's going to Denmark or what's in the envelope; he's just doing as instructed by a mentor at the concentration camp.

The characters in the film are phenomenal. Jim Caviezel's character is surprisingly absent for most of the film; but nevertheless is an integral part of the story. (I have yet to see him in a role that I didn't like.) I don't think you could draw up a more perfect child actor for the role of David than Ben Tibber. His performance in this movie is Oscar-worthy to me. And Joan Plowright (you'll recognize her from "Dennis the Menace") is verrrrry convincing in her role. Director Paul Feig has a cameo in the movie.

The soundtrack and colors work wonders; taking your breath away with each shot. The Damien Rice piece at the end is very heartfelt and true to the movie as well. The limited dialogue makes the characters seem simple, yet true to life.

Without giving too much away, I highly recommend this movie to EVERYONE. It's charming, funny, sad, and inspirational. Most movies these days have no redeeming value whatsoever, but with "David" this is not the case. It saddens me that Americans would prefer the rehashed, regurgitated crap of Hollywood over this brilliant work of art. I'm not familiar with Feig's work, but following this movie, I'm going to be sure to check out other works by him.

Please watch this one. It's a real winner.
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10/10
Excellent film
marysmith898925 April 2005
In a day when few films are wholesome or uplifting, this film was a breath of fresh air. All those who have made negative remarks about Ben Tibber's performance - it is clear you have never met anyone from Bulgaria. His stoic and serious role was accurate and well done.

As I did not know anything about this movie when I watched it, it seemed slow and at times frustrating. However, I am extremely glad I watched the entire film, as the message of this film is outstanding.

It is unfortunate that many have forgotten that films can be educational as well as entertaining, and uplifting as well as meaningful. Children and adults alike can learn history through films such as I Am David, as they experience stories they may have forever been ignorant of if not for the makers of this film.
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10/10
Let me dry my eyes I love this movie
dazidee15 July 2005
It is sad to see sorrow in the eyes of children. This is a story for any age group, the innocence of a child, the love of an older woman and the kindness of strangers. This movie moved me and made a broader statement about us as humans. I would encourage everyone to watch it. It is a story of strength and struggle and the kindness of strangers. It is about finding refuge in the darkest of places. I was so moved and cried but this is not a tear fest it is a story of hope and the colors and imagery are beautiful. The words are poignant and the sentiments are heart reaching I cannot put it into words you must see this film. The music the lines all are crafted to leave you feeling resolved at the end of the movie you are not at all left hanging. The movie appeals to any persons humanitarian side. Is there a soundtrack? I really loved the music Rice's song is captivating and appropraite for the ending.
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9/10
A Magnificent Journey to the Goodness of People
Claudio Carvalho28 July 2008
In 1952, the polyglot twelve year-old David (Ben Tibber), who was raised in the Communist Belene Prison Camp in Bulgaria, witnesses the death of his friend and protector Johannes (Jim Caviezel) and escapes from the concentration camp in the night. He is advised to mistrust everybody and together with a piece of bread, a compass, a piece of soap, a jackknife and a sealed envelope to be delivered in Denmark, he travels though Greece and Italy heading North. Along his journey, David discovers the beauty of the world and slowly he changes his behavior with people. When he meets Sophie (Joan Plowright), an old lady that lives in Switzerland and likes to paint as hobby, she asks David to paint his face; later she invites David to have lunch with her in her house, and David finally discloses his quest to her.

"I Am David" is a magnificent journey to the goodness of people. The expressive Ben Tibber has a stunning performance in the role of the boy David, who was raised confined in a concentration camp and surrounded by cruelties, that begins to smile and trust people along his travel through Europe. It is amazing how this young actor is able to transmit these sensations and emotions through his face and eyes. Joan Plowright performs a wise old woman that teaches David that most of the people are good and opens his heart. The direction, performances, cinematography, locations, pace, message etc., everything works perfectly in this great movie. Last but not the least, the conclusion is heartbreaking. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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10/10
A young boy escapes from a concentration camp and goes on a journey.
Linda Hendrex24 April 2005
I loved this movie. The soundtrack was awesome, and the boy who played David is a very engaging actor. He is so convincing as a child who has never known anything but brutality, suddenly finding himself in the free world, and learning to relate to people who are normal.

Joan Plowright is one of my favorite actresses, and as always, she was a joy to watch in this story.

It really is too bad that more movies of this caliber are not made more often. I am not really a person who can sit still for most movies. It took my daughter five days to rope me into watching this one, but in the end, I was really glad she did. Since we were watching the DVD, we were able to see the deleted scenes - they were as good as the movie itself and I couldn't understand why they were taken out. I wouldn't mind owning it this flick.

I also would love to own the soundtrack.
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the good will win
cenfe791yar10 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
There was not many films that could press a tear out of my eyes. Watching this film, from the moment Sophie learns the whole story of the boy, I couldn't help crying and I knew there was no need to hide them. I am a practically 30 years old man and I was crying... In fact, that was because I had this great chance to share the happiness of the good end, the happiness from a knowledge that in the long run the good will always win. This is all what I wanted to say but the system says a comment must be at least 10 lines... Well, the film itself is a pure sample of how inspiring and uplifting a drama can be. If I was a film-director I'd like to shoot exactly this sort of a movie. We lack such movies these days, the movies which feed our spirit. I was real astonished when the story reveals that the man who helps David to escape from prison is no one but the camp commander himself... actors are brilliant, all of them. This is not a commercial hit but anyways, such films must get Oscars, not all these Lords of the Rings.
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3/10
Dreadful if you've read the book--OK if you haven't
pcrab13 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to believe anyone would say this movie is faithful to the book (as some of the above comments have stated!).

My gifted fifth grade students and I read the book this year and then we watched the movie together. (I have used this book with classes ever since it was published in the 60's and it's one of my all time favorites.) I knew my kids would be shocked with the movie's deviation from the book and they were! Their biggest criticisms of the movie: too abrupt an ending (putting David on an airplane to Denmark--where did THAT come from???), no scenes with King, the dog, and an actor playing Maria who was the antithesis of Maria in the book. (They didn't like the David character too much either!) Well, we DID have a marvelous discussion after the movie ended.

The movie pales in comparison to Anne Holm's touching and emotion-packed novel. I really don't know how the movie could have been done to include all the thoughts and feelings David experiences as he makes his way out of the camp and North to Freedom (an earlier of the book's titles). I do know that this movie doesn't do it! Read the book if you want a truly great experience.
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2/10
Awful Acting, unbelievable story
dslodynsky25 December 2006
HOLES HOLES HOLES. This is like some high school movie that was done as an assignment not for the sake of telling a moving story. The story is, however, not moving at all because the main actor (and granted he's like seven) has one emotion, confused! One facial expression throughout the movie.

Somehow he speaks fluent Italian, German, and English just from having exposure to other speakers in his labor camp that spoke those languages. Nevermind he's seven. Somehow, no one cares that he's traveling by himself to foreign countries but ask, "would your parents mind if I take you to lunch only a few hundred miles away in another country?" "My parents are not with me," he wryly replies. "Oh, great, that's no problem at all then." Not, "what do you mean your parents are not here and your a homeless seven year old." He probably gets away with it, because not only does he speak 4 other languages fluently but without so much as an accent.

The supporting actors come and go despite having, what seems to be an important influence on the kid. Music is inappropriate....IT'S JUST BAD! AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS!

Few movies make me so angry that I would actually write a review warning other not to see it. I can't believe this got so many 10s. UGH!

Poor Jim Cav.
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I loved the ending!!! SPOILERS************
fanaticita21 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS******************** I don't know what people wanted. . . . a teary, dramatic, symphonic reunion between David and his mother? On, that would have been underwhelming. It was a perfect ending. It wasn't rushed. It was subtle, intense without being super-sentimental, understated, but profound. The music Cold Water by Damien Rice was perfect. Did you listen to it? The emotion of Damien Rice's voice layered perfectly what we saw on the screen. I thought this was a brilliant move by the director. We don't need to be beaten over the head by a drama. The fact that there were no words by either member of the cast made it all the more effective. We saw their faces, and after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

In addition it was wonderful seeing the amazing Hristo Shopov in this wonderful role as The Man, plus the additional treat of Jim Caviezel and Joan Plowright.
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1/10
Naive anti-communist tear-jerker
rowmorg1 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The historical basis of brutal deprivation and summary shootings in a post-WW2 Bulgarian prison camp is uncertain. Director-actor Paul Feig nonetheless portrays a Nazi-style horror with slave-camp beatings and a summary shooting over a bar of soap. It matters not whether this is Communist or Nazi, it is just evil, out there somewhere.

For some unknown reason, one of the psychotics running the camp decides to help a boy (David, Ben Tibber) to escape, giving him his ID papers in an envelope and telling him to take the envelope to Denmark, without telling him why or what it contains. This preposterous premise should signal that we are in a silly scenario that cannot be taken seriously.

This is further reinforced when David, who is presumably Danish, has no difficulty communicating with the multiple language-speakers he encounters on his trip. These days, such nonsense could only come from an American, and Paul Feig acts in his own film in the most absurd scene of all, when, playing an English-speaker, he gropes for Italian to talk to David, who has been talking English throughout. Real Europeans now use sub-titles and genuine languages.

David's expressionless journey through a non-specific rural Italy into the arms of a non-specific Swiss resident is strictly for the hankie-clutchers who have no disbelief to suspend. I'm afraid mine reared up in outrage when the film showed a uniformed policeman with his cap on in church, something unthinkable that Paul Feig doesn't know, although he was willing to lard the scene with a bellowing church choir, and drape the Swiss village with happy well-adjusted cousins of the Von Trapp family.

When David finds a book with his mother's picture on the back and makes a gee-whizz expression we know the resolution is nigh, and with the help of the Swiss national air-line, he is reunited with the bitch who wbo abandoned him in the torture camp, sorry, his ever-loving and faithful mother. Feig is true to style when he shows a seated airplane passenger wearing a fedora. For hankie-clutchers only: normal viewers avoid with care.
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2/10
Historicly Wrong
cooler_pn1 May 2008
This movie insulting one of the most tolerant nations in the world - Bulgaria. My country during the WW2 is part of German Alliance, but she managed to save your Israelite. After coup d'etat by the communist she joins the Allies and fight against the Germans... In 50s we are part of Warsaw Treaty but we are not part of the Soviet Union. Belene Prison Camp is created for the most dangerous enemies of the republic (and inconvenient for the communist party people) but never for children. It's the most difficult for escape prison on the Balkans. It's recorded only two escapes in 70-80s. In the movie the camp looks like Germans concentration camp!? Nobody in Belene wasn't shot for soap... Obviously the entire movie is filmed in Bulgaria. Italy is Baltchik, in Switzerland have orthodoxes church... The boy managed to survive 3 weeks with chunk of bread. He managed to cross one of the most guarded borders in Europe - Bulgarian - Greece. First, after the boy is seen by the guards immediately is send operative group to capture him. The border is not only one fence, it separate on two sectors upper and downer(the actually border) on the upper has guards with dogs and fence with wires which on contact immediately signals in guard station, after the fence have 3km mine field. Crossing the border is impossible the guards shoot on sight...

P.S. Sorry for the bad English.
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9/10
One of my favorite movies
mudenbus28 August 2005
I cried, oh I cried during the most moving parts and then wept for joy because of a sweet, wholesome, beautiful, meaningful story being told in film.

It reminded me of childhood and some great movies that were so positive and full of light. I only lamented that movies that contain this much innocence and that have such a positive message are that way because they had children in mind. It led me to ask what it is that happens to people when they leave childhood. Why can't we have stories like this as adults? Realistic? I read comments about being realistic on other sites - man oh man - life really can turn out that wonderfully. I just wonder where so much cynicism has crept into our world. I am so sad for those who cannot believe what the movie I Am David is trying to say, or trying to portray.

Also, the quality of the filming ought not to stand out as the most important criteria. I can't even notice if there are flaws or if there are areas that are low budget , etc. unless they are really bad, because the thrust of the film, the place it issues from in the heart of the director is so pure, so sweet.

I also now notice Jim Caviezel and knowing he is a Christian, we should rejoice in seeing a man who works that hard to remain true to his values while being a Hollywood actor, by choosing films that embraces those values. The only mistake that I noticed was putting Jim's face foremost in the picture on the DVD, as if he is the star we'll notice, but making it seem he plays the main part.
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7/10
" There is a world out there which is very different from the darkness in here "
thinker169116 October 2009
Europe is one of the most complicated places on Earth. There are good countries and there are some bad ones. Set in one notorious police state, is Anne Holm's touching story called " I am David. " He is a Dutch boy (Ben Tibbler) who's parents were arrested and imprisoned when he was too young to remember why. At the age of twelve he is befriended by Johannes (James Caviezel) a fellow prisoner who mentors' the boy in the enduring nature of man as he is growing up amid the cruel, barbarous, atmosphere of a harsh Bulgarian Prison camp. Thereafter he is instructed by 'the man' (Hristo Shopov) who is a sympathetic officer risking all to help the boy. With a knapsack containing a few essentials, the boy narrowly escapes and begins a harrowing thousand mile trek towards his homeland in Denmark. During the arduous journey, the boy reflects on the horrendous treatment he and the other prisoners suffered at the hands of guards. Then too, he slowly realizes the open kindness of others as he makes his way across Europe. Eventually, he meets Sophie (Joan Plowright) a lonely swiss woman who discovers who the boy really is and helps to send him home, but not before allowing her to find a bit of solace in his eyes. The film is a wonderful college of dark images, illuminated by the bright rays of hope and panoramic scenery. Easilly recommended as a movie dedicated to the spiritual humanity of all good people. ****
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10/10
It Touched My Heart
funibuni4914 November 2010
I watched this movie twice now and both times I missed the beginning. But the rest of what I saw was so heartwarming that I will keep looking for it to see it in it's entirety. My heart was traveling right along with young David. I felt his pain and his desire to share everything with Sophie. Since it wasn't part of the storyline, I decided to think that when David met up with his mom, the two of them traveled back to see his adopted "Grandma Sophie" who had been so touched by this young man as well. How refreshing to see such high quality work on a movie that isn't centered around obvious violence for any length of time but just enough for you to appreciate David's life, and not filled with sex and foul language. What a joy! What a winning story!
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4/10
I appreciated the ambition of this film, but it just did not work
TheUnknown837-124 May 2009
When I sat down to watch "I Am David", I was not expecting something monumental. I was not expecting an extraordinary experience even though one tends to when relating to films of this genre and category. "I Am David" is an independent film by Paul Freig about a young boy (Ben Tibber) who escapes from a Stalinist prison camp and makes a long journey to Denmark for freedom and reunification with someone both he and us are totally uninformed about until the last few moments of the picture and when it does come about, the question we ask is: why did they wait this long to inform us? Why did they waste so much time with all of the stuff we didn't care about? "I Am David" is a letdown of the most disappointing level. And by that I mean, I almost hate myself for having to pan this film. The movie has very, very good intentions and yes, it does have a few tender moments that unfortunately wrap up after a matter of seconds. But still, even at a short length of ninety minutes, "I Am David" is really nothing more than a session of ennui.

The fault of this movie goes to the screenplay, which was also written by director Paul Freig. When it comes to tearjerkers, which is what this film was meant to be, an intelligent screenplay is absolutely imperative. It's a given. You need a strong story and good characters otherwise you are left with nothing to hold your interest. And "I Am David" has none of that. The story is absolutely flimsy with twelve-year-old David wandering about the countryside, meeting far too many people, staring at things which do not hold our interest as well as his', and mingles with these rather dull flashbacks that are intended to show the real horror of the evil of that days of Stalin's rule. David encounters a great many people and these just prove to be scenes that go into and out of nowhere. I counted at least three long parts to this film that could have either been reworked or excised.

But what's worse of all is that little David is almost entirely on the screen and we never, not even once, sympathize or identify with him. David is well-played by Tibber, so the young actor is not to blame. It's the screenplay that is owed the blame. We never come to understand this tragic kid, he's less confused than we are, we don't relate to him, we don't even come to like him because he's such a flat, dull character. When you've got a film that focuses entirely upon one single character, you need to have a strong figure of a human being to begin with. Take for example, James Stewart's character in "Vertigo" (1958), where the film follows his struggles and experiences almost entirely throughout the course of the film, and we come to understand him, sympathize with him, pity him, and relate to him because he's such a well-realized three-dimensional character that we forget we're looking at Jimmy Stewart and not an actual living person with actual problems. Now David in "I Am David" most certainly has problems, but we still don't come to terms with him. And as for the supporting cast, which comes and goes regularly, never leaves any impact during or after their stay.

Ultimately, as good as the intentions of Paul Freig were, "I Am David" does not strike with the impact that it was undoubtedly intended to. I appreciated the ambition of this movie very much, for it is tackling a serious subject, but it just does not work because of a rather flimsy story. And again, with such a serious subject as the reign of Stalin and the people who suffered, without a strong story, there is no hope.
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Two Halves
tedg18 July 2006
This is the sort of film that claims merit in allowing you to see a bad situation work out in tear-induced happiness. Its a sort of enigma why there is a market for these; I suppose we all carry unresolved injustices in our hearts and like to see the promise of them resolved. In getting this, we gloss over the mechanics. For instance this has gotten an award from some morality institute though you'd be hard pressed to find anything or character in it that is actually an exemplar.

There's determination, and there's resolution, and somehow we superimpose admiration on the participants.

The really fascinating thing about this is that it really is two films: a long first part, followed by a quite different second part.

The first part follows a boy's escape. There actually is little to say other than this small bit, he escapes, and continues escaping.

The second part finds him with Joan Plowright and takes us to the resolution.

These two parts are from completely different cinematic worlds. It is true that many movies are remembered only for their ending and viewers will forgive all sorts of clunks in the journey if they recall the end fondly. But this first part clunks like old ball bearings in soup. There's one unnecessarily improbable escape after another. Each one adds nothing, except to underscore the difficulty of what our hero is doing. But that difficulty gets undermined at every turn. He never seems hungry, in pain, in the least uncomfortable. He always "gets away." None of the characters or places touch him in any way.

It seems as if the writer is putting us through this long process for only one reason, so that we can get a large number of flashbacks, each one revealing a little more of what becomes the real story. I'm prepared for indirect narrative; its an amazingly effective tool that I study. Here, we sort out the sense of the thing as he does.

But the container of this first part is so sickly sweet almost every viewer will give up, unless you live in a world of Sunday School cartoons.

The second part is as competent as the first is incompetent. Here, we harvest all the information we have been given in the flashbacks. Plus we have a real actor involved instead of folks who believe beatified shining is acting.

Here;s where we get three twists in the narrative, one large. And there's the hint that our boy is an illicit child, and the complications that brings. Its almost enough to make this watchable. But that first part puts us in a prison we cannot escape.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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1/10
The Worst Film I Have Ever Seen!
guitarist10028 February 2008
Do not watch this film! It is awful. Absolutely nothing happens! A Complete waste of time! The acting is awful, the characters are awful and the plot is awful. No good points at all. This wasted 80 odd Minutes of my life which I will never get back!

That is all I have to say, but they make you write a minimum of ten lines. So I'll go into slightly more detail...

The kid, "David", escapes very easily from a concentration camp, he runs through the woods with a bag he finds and within minutes crosses the border to Bulgaria. He soon climbs up a robe into a boat, gets to Italy, and walks through it with ease. He enters Switzerland in an old ladies car and is flown into Denmark.

The journey was supposed to be dangerous. Nothing stops him, or even gets close. It's amazing how a tiny kid can outrun two soldiers within seconds!

Do not watch this film. This is the worst film of all time. Full stop.
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4/10
Lassie come home with a boy from Bulgaria...
scotforever21 September 2004
It was like a Disney movie, without the animal; it could have been so much more.

He was wandering and running, never got hungry and kept going. Soundtrack told the story.

For me it was never grounded until Joan Plowright arrived...by paying attention to detail and this boy discovering a world he'd never known it would have made it more powerful. it's not a bad movie, but plays like a CBS movie of the week.

The characters were, in the main, one dimensional, and could have been developed easily with more care.
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1/10
Honestly, why?
Clayton10 December 2008
This film, to start, destroys the book entirely. Instead of the philosophical things that David goes through in the book (finding God), instead he prays to St. Elizabeth. Once. (Don't worry, it's not important in the film) And also, every single place in the film looks exactly the same despite that little David goes to 5-7 countries. And somehow, (God knows why) David, despite obviously not being from Europe, has a snobby British accent. And he looks about five years old. Please, IMDb, PLEASE put this film in the Bottom 100. And if you haven't read the book, please do so. It'll make you think the film is much worse.
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4/10
Not believable
bandw13 September 2007
This story of a young boy's escape from the Belene forced labor camp in Bulgaria in 1952 should be categorized as a drama/fantasy, or maybe even a fantasy/drama, since from the word go there is hardly a credible scene. The improbabilities and coincidences mount to the point where the final absurdity provoked my saying to myself, "This is nuts."

It's always problematic to have a young boy carry a film. As David, Ben Tibber is not completely up to the difficult task assigned to him of transitioning from traumatized prisoner to civilized young man. It seems the best he could do was to adopt an easier gait toward the end. Joan Plowright is well cast as a kindly and empathetic elderly English woman, although she is supposed to be Swiss. James Caviezel is suitably solemn as David's older friend in the labor camp.

As David makes his way to Denmark, his ultimate goal, we are treated to some beautiful landscapes. In general the production values are high, but all the talent is voided by the unconvincing screenplay.

All movies set out to manipulate us in some way, but when the maneuvering is so blatant and obvious as it is here I could never get engaged.

The labor camp, where one could be shot for stealing a bar of soap, is made out to be as bad or worse than the Nazi concentration camps. That would provide an interesting insight, but how much credence can be given to the portrayal of the camp since the overall story is so unbelievable?

Also, brutal realism and sappy fantasy do not mix well.
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