The Book Thief

Despite an intriguing premise and a promising cast (including Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), the first U.S. trailer for The Book Thief wasn’t really very appealing. The focus was murky, the sentimentality was laid on thick, and a cheesy voiceover instantly cheapened the whole thing. Worse, there wasn’t even any book-thieving. Glimpses of book-holding and book-reading, yes, but not a single moment to explain the film’s title.

The new U.K. trailer immediately proves itself superior by opening with a scene of its heroine Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) swiping a volume from a book-burning rally. And it only gets better from there. It’s still an inspirational drama set in Nazi Germany, but the uplift feels earned this time, and the characters have far more personality. Check out the new promo after the jump, and let us know if you agree.

Based on the book by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief follows young Liesel, who’s sent to live with new adoptive parents (Rush and Watson) in 1938. As World War II breaks out, the family takes in a Jewish refugee named Max (Ben Schnetzer).


[via The Playlist]

Liesel comes across like a secret badass in this version of the trailer. “When life robs you, sometimes, you have to rob it back,” she explains with a smirk when a boy questions her criminal hobby. It helps that this promo does a much better job of selling the heart-pounding terror of keeping such a secret in Nazi Germany, which in turn makes her and her family’s actions look that much more courageous.

The Book Thief has mostly flown under the radar, but it managed to grab some attention this week with a high-profile marketing stunt. The team took out two pages of advertising in the New York Times and left them mostly blank, with nothing but a URL (wordsarelife.com) printed at the very bottom. The move confused and annoyed some folks, but it got people talking, so mission accomplished.

Between that and the moderately positive reviews from its Mill Valley Film Festival premiere earlier this month, The Book Thief could just emerge as a sleeper hit in this crowded prestige movie season. The Brian Percival-directed drama hits theaters November 8.

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