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René van 't Hof
I am usually a person of many words, who frequently has to shorten his review here on IMDb because it exceeds the 1,000-word maximum, and although this movie isn't actually worth talking about, it still managed to anger me to the point that I somehow got a 537-word review out of it.
I had to watch this piece of wreckage during one of my school classes, since it is actually an adaptation of a well-known Dutch medieval story. By 'well-known', I mean that the chauvinistic Dutch school system significantly inflated its significance, since few people in the Netherlands probably know it, and very few outside have ever heard of it.
This perversion of a movie has little to do with the actual story because first and foremost, it is incomprehensible. The main reason for this is that it has one of the most atrocious audiotracks in the history of film. Dutch movies, especially the ones from the 70s and 80s, had notoriously bad audio, but this waste of celluloid was probably recorded with a microphone covered in mud, urine and animal excrement. You see the characters' mouths make sound, but nothing vaguely intelligible comes out, which makes for a weird experience. Sadly, the makers didn't think subtitles were necessary. What little coherence could have come from dialog is thereby lost, since most of the film seems to consist of loose scenes that were edited together. We only see medieval people walking, roaring, drinking, eating, raping and urinating amidst filth and dirt, and, in one point, engaging in a bizarre group sex frenzy, without any explanation, making it seem as if a lot of footage was lost, or deemed unusable.
And I know there must have been more, because I read the original story, which was actually a morality tale with a nice dramatic arc. Honestly, how the makers were able to screw up such good source material is beyond forgiveness. The story was all there, so there really was no reason whatsoever to only film the sensational stuff with utter disregard for a little thing called a narrative, or to completely omit the actual ending, which kind of made the point of the story. It probably was lack of money to shoot the rest of the script.
This is probably the most long-winded and dullest experience one could ever squeeze out of an 80-minute movie. Seriously, the stories I read beforehand from the director about how the movie was made in very primitive circumstances were infinitely more entertaining than watching this abomination.
Claiming that this movie is based on a famous piece of literature and thereby implying it has literal aspirations is, frankly, the deepest insult imaginable. How this flotsam actually made the Cannes Film Festival is beyond my comprehension, even more since Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece 'Turks Fruit' (Turkish Delight) had been angrily rejected as pornography by the festival's directors only one year before.
Like 0 degrees Kelvin, this movie is really the lowest absolute measuring point conceivable, the point to which all other movies compared are relatively better. I actually wanted to give it a 0, but since this is impossible and the art direction looked kind of good and realistic, the 1 is for effort.
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