Dave White
Black Book Review

Dave's Rating:


… amazingly daring …

Who's in It: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch

The Basics: Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, the man who gave us Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers and Showgirls, returns to filmmaking in his native Netherlands and grafts his extreme, shock-o-philic style onto this amazingly daring story of a desperate Dutch/Jewish woman, who joins the Resistance and infiltrates the Nazis by posing as an officer's girlfriend, all to exact revenge on the people who murdered her family.

What's the Deal? I've always been of the opinion that you can't separate Verhoeven's critically acclaimed early Dutch movies from his populist, crass, Hollywood films and that movies like Spetters have everything to do with movies like Starship Troopers. Most of all, I am of the usually laughed-at opinion that Showgirls is a misunderstood, if completely deranged, art film. And that's why when looking at this film, I see Vegas stripper Nomi Malone in the same boat as van Houten's whatever-it-takes-to-survive-and-get-revenge resistance fighter. In other words, you ain't seen a story of Jewish survival in WWII like this one. Ever.

Not for Fans Of: Most other movies about the Nazis or the Holocaust. Did you cry at the end of Schindler's List? Do you like your victims to be appropriately good-hearted, innocent and victim-y? Then you might be offended by this one. Like when van Houten's character sort of falls for the Nazi she's trying to bring down. That could bug someone. Or a really nasty scene involving raw sewage. Or when the Christian family who initially hides her gets blown up by Nazi bomber planes and her only response is, "Well, at least I won't have to recite Bible verses for food anymore."

How to Approach It If You Don't Care About Film Critics Rambling on About Auteurs and Their Obsessions: It's also a really rousing, action-packed (i.e., violent) war adventure with a lot of plot surprises and a satisfying, crowd-pleasing ending.

Coolest Plot Device: You have to give it up for a screenwriter who can wickedly and intelligently integrate the cliché of the female relationship to chocolate into a brutal script about double-crosses, revenge and Third Reich spy girls who dabble in prostitution to achieve their ends.


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