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Young Barend is worried about the safety of the sailing vessel he is on. The owner is an unscrupulous and stingy man who skimps on repairs and Barend becomes aware of this. Inevitably there is drama and tragedy. The film is set in an early 20th century Dutch fishing village with local period costume and colour. Written by
Upteenth version of Herman Heijermans' 1900 stage play (the earliest film version has already been lost at sea), this time with an updated story and a shift of emphasize in the lead character. Although the cast list reads like a who's who of Dutch thespians, they all have to take a step back to let teen idol Danny de Munk star. He who shot to fame two years earlier in another remake, 'Ciske de Rat'. Desperate to give the kid center stage in this picture too, screenwriter Karin Loomans invented a love story for him and even a pop song to sing (since the previous film landed him a huge hit single).
The opening sequence on the boat ('Op Hoop van Zegen', or 'De Hoop' for short) is gorgeously shot and accompanied by a stirring score by Rogier van Otterloo. Then we cut to a stormy night when a man falls overboard, planting the first seeds of foreshadowing into Barend (De Munk)'s mind. It's a shame we spent so little time on the actual Hoop, for as soon as we are on dry land, we are introduced to the entire population of a small fishermen's town. It helps somewhat that all of them are played by familiar faces, but there are still far too many relationships and loose family connections to keep track off.
Young Tamar van den Dop, in her film debut as Clementine, has a crush on Danny de Munk's character but her wealthy father Bos (Rijk de Gooyer) is sending every young man out on the unseaworthy Hoop. An attempt is made in this version to make the evil Bos slightly more sympathetic by giving him a self centered wife (Willeke van Ammelrooy) and a truly disgusting insurance man played with Geoffrey Rush like glee by Luc Lutz.
Apart from being a singer of songs and having the only Amsterdam accent in town, Barend is also a talented illustrator (sure, like he could make a living that way). Clementine tries to spill the beans about the boat but circumstances (and her father) conspire against puppy love and Barend and his controversial commie brother (Huub Stapel) are forced to set sail. Did I mention that the play originally centers around their mother Kniertje (Kitty Courbois)? Well, at least De Hoop was well insured. The same could not be said about this picture.
6 out of 10
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