7 September 1999 | ive-5
This is the film debut of Willem Wallyn, a lawyer turned film maker and son of one of those indicted and subsequently convicted in the Agusta (helicopter) corruption trial which brought down among others Willy Claes, former secretary-general of NATO. The trial marks a sea change in Belgian politics and got an immense amount of media coverage. In one particular scene, the film mixes fiction and reality in a very powerful way, namely when actor Peter Van den Begin, who plays Willem Wallyn, accompanies his 'father' Luc up the stairs of the Palais de Justice in Brussels. Everybody will have seen the TV pictures at the time and will remember them vividly.
The film centers around the son, Willem Wallyn, an ambitious young lawyer tormented by the media coverage of the corruption scandal involving his father. Enraged by a personal attack live on air, he decides to abduct a star journalist after which a game of physical and mental torture starts. This is not what one would call an original concept for a film.
The film is flawed in many other ways, as one one expect in a debut, particularly from someone who went to law instead of film school. The story defies credibility on crucial points - a star journalist just does not disappear from the face of the earth for a couple of few weeks. The camera work is uninspired. There is far too much use of slow motion, which is cheap way to add drama. The film misses fluency due to bad and probably hasty editing. Some of the acting is downright awful. This is to be forgiven of Luc Wallyn, who plays himself, but not of some of the others. However, Peter Van den Begin, who plays the protagonist Willem Wallyn, is tremendous. He surely deserves better directors and better scripts. Herbert Flack too gives a strong performance, as one expect from him.
In short, a flawed debut that is principally of interest to those well acquainted with recent Belgian politics. However, fans of Eddy Wally, and I know they exist all around the globe, cannot afford to miss this film.