2 items from 2015
Provocative Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam puts a contract out on his own life, so to speak, in “Schneider vs. Bax,” a darkly comedic broad-daylight thriller in which two for-hire hitmen are simultaneously tasked with taking one another out. No stranger to acting in his own films, van Warmerdam casts himself as Ramon Bax, a disheveled sitting duck whose substance-abuse problem could do him in before his rival even arrives, while Tom Dewispelaere plays Schneider, who approaches the assignment like a pro, optimistic that if all goes well he’ll be home in time for a birthday dinner with his two young daughters.
A relatively straightforward genre exercise compared with last year’s Cannes-competing “Borgman,” “Schneider vs. Bax” (which has already opened in its native Netherlands, where it did arthouse business rather than action-movie numbers) likely wouldn’t have interested festivals or foreign distribs if not for the career-rekindling acclaim his previous feature attracted. »
- Peter Debruge
Steadily working Dutch auteur Alex van Warmerdam has been systematically making bizarre, offbeat features since 1986’s Voyeur (aka Abel), with titles like 1992’s The Northerners or 2003’s Grimm reaching a wider international audience. But at Cannes 2013, Warmerdam’s eighth feature, Borgman, was a breakout success. Though it went home empty handed, it certainly increased Warmerdam’s profile with a delightfully strange film. His latest, Schneider Vs. Bax, sees the director with his usual set cast of returning characters, including Pierre Bokma and his wife, Annet Malherbe, who starred in nearly all his features. A hitman is assigned the simple task of killing a solitary writer before the night is through. Of course, things don’t go as planned.
Production Co.: Graniet Film Bv, Czar, Verenigde Arbeiders Radio Amateurs (Vara)
- Nicholas Bell
2 items from 2015
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