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Monique van de Ven,
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Doug Shafer <email@example.com>
Director Paul Verhoeven experienced immense pressure to come up with a worthy follow-up for his critically and commercially successful Turkish Delight (1973). He clashed repeatedly with producer Rob Houwer over the screenplay and didn't get the budget to make the film on the epic scale he had intended. He has been quoted as saying that if he could ever redo one of his movies, it would be this one. See more »
I recorded this movie a few weeks ago from our local community television station Triangle's night broadcast. I was surprised to see this on their schedule, as it's usually the lowest rate affair. The situation was another example of a great work getting lost in another vast video copy collection.
I was excited to be seeing an early movie from a director I always admired. I'd only ever seen his Hollywood work, and was especially fond of his Sci-Fi classics growing up. As others recognize, Verhoeven unashamedly puts into his films, his honest impression of the societal constructs we humans consistently find ourselves in. That regular criticism of the complexities of human nature, beyond the norms of each film's particular genre, has always resonated with my world view.
I finally watched this film this morning. As it started it was obvious the image quality was very poor, not helped by early scenes being predominantly in the dark. Not surprisingly the character's voices were dubbed into English, but were often mismatched or exaggerated, unfitting for the film. It seems to be the UK version I saw, yet some accents were American. I always try to watch a film in it's original intended language, but it seems the foreign films on the local community station are only ever poorly dubbed video copies.
Despite the poor quality of the copy I saw (the video company's logo even popped up irregularly in the bottom corner of the image), this film really amazed me. Much of the reasons why have been detailed by the few other comments on this site. The biggest flaw of the story for me was that the film ended too suddenly. This seems a common element to films the further back in cinema history you go. I actually appreciate a well crafted credits sequence, easing the viewer out of the film's world, and allowing reflection. Even at nearly 2 hours long, I felt my interest would have been sustained for a little bit longer.
There is a DVD listed here with 5 of Verhoeven's films in their original Dutch form, with English subtitles. I'd like to see this one again, and the rest of his early creations, which others consider even better. Rutger Hauer is also a great, varied yet charismatic actor, and it seems his best work might be with Verhoeven.
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