I Am David

I’ve just finished watching a movie I didn’t want to watch for a long time: I Am David. Some of you may have heard of this film, or the novel by Anne Holm on which it is based. I read the book some years ago, and, honestly, I didn’t like it. But, I decided to give the story another chance and got the movie.

David is a young boy who has lived in a prison camp in Bulgaria for all his life, until one day, he gets a chance to escape after his friend died a heroic death to save David’s life. With everyone of David’s moves and thoughts, the viewer experiences this world through the eyes of an innocent child who has never seen a lake, a cat, someone who has never eaten warm food, and, somehow, it felt as if I became this child who discovers a world full of mysteries myself.

The movie is very calm, much of it has no dialogs. Paul Feig shows David trying to find his way through the world mostly through fantastic photography and Stewart Copeland underlines this beautiful though often sad scenery with an ingenious soundtrack.

Ben Tibber – whom I’d only known as Tiny Tim out of the Christmas Carol version with Patrick Stewart OBE in 1999 – is an excellent actor. Playing David who gradually becomes more and more human and learns to trust other people while he is still haunted by the trauma of his friend being shot in front of him and while more and more, he finds back memories of his mother, would have been a great challenge for any (child) actor, but Tibber is so convincing that David becomes a person whom you seem to really get to know throughout these ninety minutes.

Jim Caviezel, whom most of you might know as Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion Of The Christ is outstanding as Johann, as well as Joan Plowright, whom I don’t know out of any other film I can think of now, as Sophie.

This film surely is no popcorn movie. It is a masterpiece. It is the way every movie should have to be. Emotional, and yet never pathetic. Serious, and yet never grave.

There are a lot of scenes in this movie that have a much greater story to tell than most action films. The scene where David is lying under the trees and realizes he is now a free person – a concept that had never really existed for him before – is simply enormous. Another scene that struck me was the first time that David woke up by the sea, it is then that he realizes that this world “outside” that he had never known is real and that he is becoming a part of it.

Everyone should have seen this, you will never ask for a banal Spielberg movie like War Of The Worlds again after having seen this movie by Paul Feig, who, in my opinion, is of the same calibre than Lukas Moodysson, one of my favourite directors.

What surprised me a lot during the movie is that I suddenly remembered some scenes, I saw them in front of my inner eyes the way I had imagined them back when I read the book. So, in the end, the book can’t have been that bad. I will certainly re-read it.

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