Mata Hari is a beautiful Dutch-born dancer, working in Paris. It is August 1914 and war between France and Germany seems imminent. However, she accepts an invitation to travel to Berlin as ...
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Exotic dancer Mata Hari is arrested on suspicion of treason. Before her trial she is questioned thoroughly reveals her life story from her childhood in Zeeland, her marriage in Indonesia and her success and espionage in France.
Josine van Dalsum,
Mata Hari is a beautiful Dutch-born dancer, working in Paris. It is August 1914 and war between France and Germany seems imminent. However, she accepts an invitation to travel to Berlin as part of a show. On the train she meets a young German army officer but any thoughts of romance are cut short when a French agent is murdered on the train, while in her company. She is arrested in Germany but freed when the German officer intervenes. While in Germany war breaks out and she is recruited by German Intelligence to spy on France. Written by
Did some idiot actually give this pile of garbage a 10?
This movie represents further proof, as if we needed it, that Hollywood is better at promoting movies than at actually making them. The idea of casting one of the sex symbols of the 70s, Sylvia Kristel, as one of the most notorious women in history, Mata Hari, a women whose mere name implies seduction, betrayal and intrigue, would seem like a winning combination, but that's about as far as anybody thought it through.
Mata Hari herself comes off as uninteresting and not particularly sexy, and her exploits, far from impacting the fortunes of nations in the high stakes game of WWI espionage, seem trite and trivial. Perhaps this was the point - to demonstrate that the myth of Mata Hari far surpassed the actuality - and if so the creators succeeded. Somehow, I doubt this was the intent. I think we just got another example of incompetent film- making. The subject matter SHOULD have been fascinating, even if the myth went far beyond the real history and the story should have been interesting and instructive however it evolved. In this case, we just got painfully dull cinema, unerotic and even unglamorous to the point of seeming rather tawdry looking. Mata Hari's famous stage act is recreated without sufficient verve or visual style to really give the viewer a sense as to how she become an international sensation, and Kristel herself seemed to be sleepwalking her way through the role, not that the script ever gave her anything much of interest to do. As the picture (and Mata Hari herself) reached its end, I found myself wondering, Is this it? Was this all she did? And if so, how did she become a household name? Such questions should not remain unanswered at the end of a biopic. I wouldn't have minded an inaccurate or sensationalized biopic either, as that might at least have been passably entertaining. Yet, I was not convinced that this version did Mata Hari's story justice either. Maybe a remake is in order.
4 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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