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A gang of six wealthy, well-dressed and well-spoken hoodlums break into a married couple's house and rape the wife while forcing the husband to watch. Thus begins a dogged investigation by a determined detective who quickly finds that their cult-like solidarity can be a serious obstacle to breaking them. Written by
Brian J. Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Get a bunch of hormonally-stoked, wealthy, presumably-untouchable teen boys together in an iron-clad clique and let the proverbial sex and mayhem fly. Released in 1973, around the time David Hemmings had his hands full with "Unman, Wittering, & Zigo," and James Mason was dealing with "Child's Play," this youth delinquency story centers around a group of six well-to-do, but never-do-well teens who perpetrate rape and extreme vandalism. Bryan Marshall is the put-upon detective in Amsterdam who is assigned the case after a particularly graphic gang rape takes place in his metropolitan jurisdiction. All leads point to a Dutch seaside town and the six lads, who are seen as upstanding youth in the community, as the perpetrators.
The intriguing element about this otherwise slow-moving affair is the realistic bent director Fons Rademakers brings to the proceedings. The gang rape which opens the film has an air of frank reality not seen in many films during the '70s. His technique doesn't excuse the horrifying nature of the moment by using quick-cut editing, or slashing guitars on the soundtrack, or wild lighting and intense close-ups, all of which would be the way most commercial-driven directors of today would handle this sickly scene. We are forced to watch, along with the victim's husband, as she is taken by five of the six members of the gang. The vision of her just watching her husband with disgust is a hard image to shake.
Rademakers introduces naturalistic elements like this throughout. An interrogation scene of the boys' girlfriends by Marshall (which includes the barely-on-screen presence of Sylvia Kristel) is handled with nuance usually reserved for Hollywood A-type dramas. The natural, everyday-life approach to dressing and undressing (Marshall is seen full frontal, as is his prostitute girlfriend, the entrancing Alexandra Stewart)is executed in a manner completely devoid of any awareness of the camera. A Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck will always take care to cover their privates in a "bedroom" scene with a sheet or a back turn just at the right moment, which immediately makes an audience remove themselves from the story, thinking, "oh, that's right, he's a star; he doesn't want his ding-a-ling to show." Here, it's not cinema verite, but it is just natural.
Even though Marshall's not shy about revealing his shortcomings, it can also be noted he isn't shy about showing much range in his acting abilities. Both he and the criminal lads display a woefully limited amount of acting chops. On the other hand, the women in this film emote a more believable and compelling performance.
Unfortunately, the music score is oftentimes obnoxiously introduced. It sounds like the same cue is dropped in at varying points of transition without any thought of its dramatic effect or variance in rhythm or pitch on the scenes. It's quite distracting from any drama being built up on the screen by Rademakers.
Overall, the mystery of the story, which centers around a cult-like devotion amongst the boys, doesn't lend any surprises nor any suspense-filled moments. It's fairly threadbare. But the naturalness of certain scenes mentioned before, make it a step above the usual Euro-low-budget fare of the '70s. It's a naturalness like fellow Dutchman Verhoven exhibited in "Turkish Delight" and "Keetje Tippel", but without his over-the-top shock values. My rating ** out of ****.
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