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Movie Review: Black Book

Alternate Title: Collaborators, Spies and Ho's

Story: Director Paul Verhoeven could have finally had a respectable film to put on his resume but his Basic Instinct could not be stifled. As one of the writers (Gerard Soeteman and Paul Verhoeven) he maintains that this film is based on true events. It is a serious story that takes place during 1944 in Holland.

We meet a beautiful, resourceful Jewess whose family is gunned down in front of her eyes. She joins the Dutch resistance and manages to bed down with the head of the Gestapo based in the Hague. It is a lot to swallow and Verhoeven all to easily goes for the crass and prurient whenever he is able. Remember the money shot in Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone? Verhoeven flashes back to that imagery when the Jewess decides in order to pass as a gentile she will bleach all of her hair blonde. Yes - all of her hair.

The film has some terrific moments but just when you forget it is Verhoeven he quickly reminds us with over some the top moments and way too many red herrings that I will not bother to repeat in this review. He even adds a 'good' Nazi with which we are to sympathize. Puh-leeze!

Verhoeven depicts the human condition as one that is wanting. Agreed. So is this film.

Acting: Carice van Houten as the Jewess is wonderful and I would like to see her in more films. Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others) as the 'good' Nazi is fine too.The rest of the cast is cut from central casting.

Predilection: None. I actually do not like this director and was reticent to see this film.Blatant Product Placement: Cadbury's Chocolate

Food: Chocolate, fish and other unappetizing stuff.

Soundtrack: Over the top.

Opening Titles: I don't remember.

Theater Audience: My movie buddy (who really liked the film and insisted that I mention that to you) and I were surprised to see so many people in the theater.

Weather: They seem to have experienced all types of weather in 1944 Hague.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Nazi's make me squirm

Drift Factor: This film was way too long and I started to look at my watch after only 45 minutes.

Predictability Level: By movie's end I did not care what the heck happened to anyone since everyone was morally compromised.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Soap Box: Nazis suck

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. Here are some of director Paul Verhoeven's other films to avoid. Hollow Man, Starship Troopers, Showgirls, Basic Instinct, Total Recall and RoboCop

Length: A whopping two hours and 25 minutes. Way over the Lobo two hour rule.