Saturday, April 21, 2007

Black Book

A great return to form for director Paul Verhoeven. Going back to his Dutch roots, Verhoeven co-writes and directs this WWII story inspired by real events. The story centers on a Jewish woman hiding from the Nazi's in 1944 German occupied Holland.

After a series of horrific circumstances force Rachel Stein to join the Dutch resistance, she dyes her hair blonde and changes her name to Ellis de Vries. When she meets a high ranking Nazi officer, Ubercaptain Muentze, on a train, Ellis goes undercover as his clerk and lover. An unlikely romance begins between them and their situation become more complicated and dangerous as the film goes on.

At a very quick paced 2 & 1/2 hours, this film has it all. Romance, sex, intrigue, action, last second escapes, double and triple crosses, and terrific acting from the principle cast. Carice van Houten is wonderful as Rachel/Ellis and Sebastian Koch, so good in "The Lives of Others", stays true to form as her sympathetic Nazi lover, Muentze.

For the most part Verhoeven drives the story with some restraint towards bad taste however, be warned, there a few few scenes that push the envelope. After all, this is the same man who brought us "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls". But don't let that stop you from a exciting and satisfying movie experience. "Black Book" is in English, German and Dutch.

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