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Aro Recommended Black Book

 

aka: Zwartboek
Netherlands 2006, 140 minutes
Dir. Paul Verhoeven
In Dutch with English subtitles
Rating: [M]
Genres: Foreign Cinema, Action/Adventure, Suspense / War, Girl-centric

Topics: Period 1940s.

 

Aroview: A Jewish singer goes deep undercover for the Dutch resistance in this splashy, larger-than-life WWII yarn set in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, well endowed with Verhoevian nudity, moral compromise and action thrills aplenty.

Deceptive as a comic-strip serialization, dir. Verhoeven tempers the schlock factor he's notorious for with a slicked back, immaculately dressed (though still wildly sexed up) redux of wartime heroics, knotted by a reoccurring moral ambiguity that speaks of history's oft-ignored shades of grey. If unconventionally pulpy in the company of more realistic war depictions, the film’s decadence is at the very least great fun, augmented in appeal by the tremendous Carice Van Houten, who manages to transcend her own spectacular, incongruous good looks with a gutsy, charismatic, proudly feminist star turn.

NZ International Film Festival 2007

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DVD Features

  • audio commentary
  • 'making of' documentary / featurette
  • aspect ratio: 2.35:1
 

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