The Grim Reaper (voiced by Roger Allam) is the mellifluous narrator of this beautifully crafted story of courage and determination during the Second World War, based on the international bestseller of the same name by Markus Zusak.
Unseen until the final frames, the shadowy figure casts an unsentimental eye over characters in the midst of bitter and bloody conflict.
“The only truth that I truly know is that I am haunted by humans,” he confides.
In particular, Death is haunted by a girl called Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nelisse).
As tensions escalate across Europe, Liesel bids a tearful farewell to her Communist mother (Heike Makatsch) and is delivered into the care of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson).
Intercut with Death’s words of wisdom, The Book Thief is a handsome and poignant drama that compels us to care about the spunky heroine as she risks her life to protect the people she loves from annihilation.
Like Death, we too are haunted by Liesel and her incredible journey, which lingers in the memory long after the curtain falls on Percival’s impressive picture.