Black Book (2006)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller, War


Black Book (2006) Poster

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.


7.8/10
68,723

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  • Carice van Houten at an event for Black Book (2006)
  • Carice van Houten in Black Book (2006)
  • Paul Verhoeven at an event for Black Book (2006)
  • Carice van Houten in Black Book (2006)
  • Black Book (2006)
  • Sebastian Koch in Black Book (2006)

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8 April 2007 | jeff-1875
9
| Unexpectedly Good Film
I seem to be the first in the US to comment on this film after having seen it at a regular theater.

There's no sense in talking about the movie's plot as so many others have already done so.

My fiancée is German and tends to be interested in those artsy foreign films. Tonight she decided we should go see this one. I'm glad we did.

I've seen a number of Paul Verhoeven's films and have found some of them quite entertaining, if a bit tacky and unrealistic. I wasn't expecting much from a Dutch film by a guy known for making big budget, tacky films.

I was pleasantly surprised by this film.

Yes, it most certainly IS a Paul Verhoeven film. Gratuitous nudity and violence seem to be his hallmarks and they're certainly not lacking. Do they detract from the movie? A little, but not enough to lose sight of the message of the film - or to make it any less enjoyable.

We had recently seen "The Lives of Others" which starred Sebastian Koch. It made his character oddly familiar. I'm certainly a fan of his after seeing his performance in both of these movies.

As for Carice van Houten... well, one of the marks of a true STAR is that you just can't take your eyes off of him or her. It isn't just beauty; there are plenty of beautiful women in the world who don't possess that same star quality. It isn't just talent, either; there are many very talented actresses out there who just don't draw you in in the same way. Carice van Houten has it all: she's beautiful in a very real way and an amazing talent - and has that something special that makes you look at her every second she's on screen. I hope the directors of the world take note of her because she deserves the stardom she has exhibited in this film.

It is good to see a film that depicts how the hunted can easily turn into the hunter. My fiancée's mother was a young girl during WWII who's family lived in Poland (near Gdansk aka Danzig). Towards the end of the war, they were forced to leave their home in fear for their lives - both from the advancing Russians and the local Poles exacting revenge for what other Germans had done. The film said it in a slightly different sentence, but it is right in bringing across the message that people seem to never learn: that it is NEVER right to hurt others no matter what they might have done in the past.

I wonder if Paul Verhoeven's family is Jewish because he really seems to identify with the never ending succession of attacks against the Jewish people. It saddens me that only ONE other review even mentioned the scene at the end where Rachel's community (in Israel) was being attacked. Part of the film's message is that we seemed doomed to repeat our inhumanity to our fellow man.

Was this a perfect movie? Certainly not. Is it a masterpiece ala "Schindler's List" or "Full Metal Jacket" or "Saving Private Ryan?" Probably not. But I'll say that in the several hours since I've seen it, I can't stop thinking about it. And I certainly enjoyed every minute of that 2-1/2 hour film while watching it. I'd watch it again if I had it on DVD.

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