Saturday, January 05, 2008

Zwartboek (Black Book)

I haven’t seen much non-American films by Paul Verhoeven -or many American ones after Basic Instinct- but after seeing this one I have to check the others he has done outside Hollywood as if they’re as good as this one I’m missing some good movies.

Have to say that now I understand why some critics say that Lust, Caution is similar to Black Book, yes they have similar –not identical but alike- stories but are totally different films especially for the director’s styles and because this story is more a very good thriller with many unexpected twists than a romance. They have something in common both are very good.

Black Book is the story of a Jewish singer that used to work in Germany but due to the war had to go back to her native Holland to hide. The story co written by Verhoeven is set in the last days of WWII in occupied Holland and follows how Rachel Stein becomes Ellis de Vries as the farm where she was hiding is bombed and she has to start to move to keep alive. But it is that kind of magnificent story that takes you one way lets you think that you know what’s going on, but then something happens and you have to start allover again. Well, I guessed one correctly, but had no idea of what they show in the end.

With a great looking cast lead by beautiful Carice van Houten that plays Rachel/Ellis and does an enormously outstanding performance as she carries the entire movie –is her movie- and you cannot imagine this movie without her. Her career just exploded (she has 6 projects for 2008) after this movie and there is one particular movie that I will love to see, Vivaldi that currently is in pre-production but I could see all six projects just to see her performing. She’s very good.

Also with very good performances we find Sebastian Koch, Halina Reijn, Derek de Lint, Thom Hoffman and with least likeable character Waldemar Kobus. Very good casting I must say.

The screenplay was so good that became a thriller novel written by Dutch writer Laurens Abbink Spaink and I hope to find it as will love to read it to find more about Rachel Stein past that was more developed in the book.

I suppose that some of you have seen this movie that was released in the Netherlands since 2006. For some reason escaped my radar, but I’m so glad that I found it. The movie was premiered and got a Golden Lion nomination in the 2006 Venice Film Festival, also was nominated for a BAFTA Award last year, has 10 wins and many nominations, including the nomination that Carice van Houten got for Best Actress in the 2007 European Films Awards.

A must be seen for those that love a very good thriller set in a war and is not a war movie. This movie recalls the great stories that Hollywood used to make many years ago and definitively all adult audiences will enjoy it.


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