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- Genres: Drama / Thriller / War /
- Year: 2006
- Country: Netherlands Germany Belgium
- Cast: Carice van Houten: Rachel Stein / Ellis de Vries, Sebastian Koch: Ludwig Müntze, Thom Hoffman: Hans Akkermans, Halina Reijn: Ronnie, Waldemar Kobus: Günther Franken, Derek de Lint: Gerben Kuipers, Christian Berkel: General Käutner, Dolf de Vries: Notary Wim Smaal, Peter Blok: Van Gein, Michiel Huisman: Rob, Ronald Armbrust: Tim Kuipers, Frank Lammers: Kees, Matthias Schoenaerts: Joop, Johnny de Mol: Theo, Xander Straat: Maarten, Diana Dobbelman: Mrs. Smaal, Rixt Leddy: Anny, Lidewij Mahler: Linda, Pieter Tiddens: Herman, Gijs Naber: Cas,
- Storyline: In 1944, in the occupied Holland, the Jewish Rachel Stein is hiding from the Nazis in a house of a Christian family. When her hiding place is bombed, Rachel escapes by chance, but she is found by a stranger called Van Gein that invites her to join a group of Jews in a boat to escape to Belgium on the next night. He advises her to bring money and jewels for her survival and very few luggage. Rachel visits lawyer and friend of her family Wim Small that gives her a large amount for her travel. When she meets the refugees, she finds that her family is in the group. While crossing the swamp, a Nazi patrol boat arrives and kills the fugitives, but Rachel is the only one to survive. Later she joins a cell of resistance leaded by the Dutch Gerben Kuipers under the identity of Ellis de Vries; after meeting the Nazi Officer Ludwig Müntze in a train, Kuipers proposes Ellis to work as a spy seducing Müntze. During her assignment, Rachel recognizes Günther Franken as the commander of the attack to the boat of refugees and later she discovers that the murders are part of a scheme with a traitor in the resistance team.
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Thanks to the excellent reviews the Chicago papers gave it, I sauntered off to see it without my wife who foolishly dismissed it as "another Holocaust film" (that's as off-base as calling "Freedom Writers" "another school teacher inspirational film).
The acting is top notch, like all technical parts of the film. Men could say it illustrates the writer's longing for worldwide peace, also regarding the end of the film which illustrates the Middle East conflict.Carice van Houten and Sebastian Koch are simply excellent in this film. She is a Dutch beauty who, if this role is anything to go by, is on the verge of a magnificent career. I would have loved the film even more if it had had an open ending so we would never know who was good or wrong (The main theme of the film) , but it is still entertaining as hell and most people probably like it better if everything is clear for them.So this is a excellent homecoming of Paul Verhoeven and I think it will be a big hit in Holland and internationally. Too bad. Her heroine in "Black Book" is not a character that grows because of the special circumstances that she must confront, but she a resourceful survivor who must do what is necessary to help herself and others. As a matter of fact I don't understand why he is not playing Colonel Von Staufenberg in the upcoming film about the assassination attempt on Hitler!!!!! Add another review. The film captures perfectly the madness of the time, you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys,there is nothing manipulative or Manichean in this film,everything is not black and white. There are some darn good reasons that "Black Book" is still playing in several Chicago theaters nearly 4 months after its release. Via cunning and fortunate circumstance, she manages to transform herself into Ellis de Vries, a blond bombshell who infiltrates the German command in the area.
Last week, I replaced the Scorsese epic with Sofia Coppola's luscious biopic of "Marie Antoinette". I was utterly swept away by the intrigue, drama, romance and tragedy. And you may wonder how they found these derelict buildings seen in the film.I think that some comparison to "The Pianist" is fair. (spoiler) The violence is "normal" Nazi machine gunning and two people get a hatchet in the face in the last days of the war. But this is a film loaded with action, conflict, comparisons to Greta Garbo, violence, romantic style, and vulgar displays of human incarceration. I just saw the film and I loved it, the actors are fantastic, especially Carice Van Houten, who really carries the film. Rachel is immediately on the run, aided by her new sailor friend.So much of this film relies on surprises and shocking twists that it would be unfair of me to detail too many plot threads. Verhoeven succeeds because he seems to understand and respect his sources. This a Total Recall kind of plot twisting thriller set against the background of ww2. Subtitles do not distract from your understanding of this film.
It is one of the best ensembles of the year. Based upon a true story. However, I struggle to call it an ensemble because it would be ignoring one of the singular performances in recent memory. Let's just say that the writing, plotting, direction, and acting are all top notch -- better than any other film I've seen all year. ETA: Sorry, this thread is no longer on the Message Board. So while you're enjoying this wild roller-coaster emotional ride, pay attention to the details and what people say -- because not a word is wasted."Black Book" is simply film making at its best. We are viewing survival methods of a women who is also a spy. She, like many Jews at that time, were surviving by any means necessary in order to outlast the Nazi tyranny. The meeting brings back painful wartime memories and Rachel heads to a quiet place by the river to recollect our central story.So back we travel, to occupied Holland, circa 1944, and we see a more youthful Rachel, diligently practicing a bible passage in order to earn a meal from the family who is hiding her from the Germans. It's got a circular structure, and although we know its resolution, we can't help being drawn by its thrilling narrative and very charismatic star.
The film deals with a young Dutch woman of Jewish background that joins the resistance to fight the Nazi's. You're best off not knowing much of the plot -- this film takes twists and turns that amaze and astound. Rarely have I ever been as moved by a character's heroism and charm and guile and wits. People come in all sorts and wartime conditions display that variety (and this film captures that).I don't doubt that Americans are very similar to the people portrayed in this film. AFTER YOU SEE THE FILM, I recommend you read hendrik-rood's reply in the thread, "muntzen, too nice?" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389557/board/thread/66978556 This gives a excellent amount of the factual material on which the film was based. The less you know about it, the better. Kudos to those Dutch who have accepted and applauded this film.I thought the casting and acting was superb. In my opinion, even if you dislike WW2 films, you really should see Zwartboek, this film is about so much more than just the war.A very philosofical sentence in the film is 'Does is never ends?'. Black Book (or Zwartboek,as it's called in Europe)is directed & co written by Paul Verhoeven (with Gerard Soetman,who collaborated with Verhoeven on many screenplays for films in his native Holland). I appreciated the sacrifices of the "Resistance Fighters" during WWII.
The production is flawless, the action scenes are very well done, and he brings out the best of his cast. However, one day, while flirting with a young man sailing on the nearby lake, her safe zone is destroyed in one fell swoop by a low flying bomber. Sex play is contained therein as she manipulates the right people.If I sound cool, you're right. Amazingly, she encounters a kindred soul in the middle of this hell, and she eventually learns that the lines of good and evil blur at some point.The film's production is impeccable, and it moves very well, considering how much is packed in its nearly 2:30 hours. Every one of them exudes authenticity. This film challenges that view. Without them Paul Verhoeven couldn't have done this with such a magnitude. If you've ever seen their earlier film 'Soldier Of Orange', you'll know what I mean. Paul Verhoeven has created a real masterpiece.
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