An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat.
J.W. Katadreuffe is the son of Joba Katadreuffe and A.B. Drevenhaven. Though fully neglected by Joba, Dreverhaven ensures the succesfull career of his son. Mostly unseen, though he sues his son a few times. The son Katadreuffe succeeds, but at great costs. Written by
Klaas van Gend <Klaas@vangend.demon.nl>
This is a movie that grips right away. While it has a dark setting, sparse but classic, the characters are rich. The love and care that Mike van Diem and the actors put in this film is visible. Thanks to significant contributions from both Dutch and Belgian TV stations, this movie is a rare treat, which is for once not spoiled by overly commercial requirements from demanding advertisers... As i understand, the film company First Floor Features had this film for decade(s?) in the planning, and it is a happy coincidence that it was realized the way you can enjoy it now. It has thus become a monument honoring the fabulous writer F. Bordewijk, the Dutch life and mind of the beginning 1900's, the craftsmanship of a dedicated cast, and a generous producer.
Jan Declair as the stony-hearted usher Dreverhaven is a character you won't forget for a long time. His softer side is time and again rejected by taciturn Joba, his former housekeeper who became pregnant in one lonely weak moment of them both. For several years, he offers her to marry her, or at least to contribute for the upbringing of his illegitimate son Kattedreuffe. She as many times rejects: 'We do not need anything.' On a precarious occasion, Dreverhaven denounces Jacob Kattadreuffe nevertheless, and from that moment on, father and son have a harsh relation as well. -
Masterfully, fate intertwines their lives, as the story unfolds. Real gems are present everywhere, the scenery is breathtakingly picturesque, partly filmed in Rotterdam harbor, and in other places like Poland. The movie constantly plays with time, but in a plausible way. As an example, when Kattedreuffe has an appointment at a bailiff's office after being framed into bankruptcy, the name plate blinks at once with his own name on it. And indeed, he starts a career in this very office that same day.
For a while, the lives of father and son seem only occasionally to coincide, but it is a silence before the storm. Every picture draws to the dramatic end which was glimpsed as the opening scene: Did Kattadreuffe murder Dreverhaven? Many instances shown would allow this conclusion, as the two fatally attract each other to fulfill their inner tragedy. Dreverhaven as this hard and desperate 'keeper of the law' who can not express love, and Kattadreuffe as the one who had to fight his whole life to arrive in a higher position, and then stands empty-handed, his love unreturned through his own stupidity (even his mother sees that Lorna Te George / Tamar van den Dop was an exquisite relation missed).
To kill (!) each other would suddenly seem like the best possibility and a liberation in such a dark hour, but the end has a surprise. The last minute smooths all the giant waves, and allows for a satisfying and ingenuous end scene. - Maybe you have to see this movie more than once to uncover the many hidden treasures, i strongly recommend to get it for yourself on DVD. The music of 'Paleis van Boem' enhances perfectly the impressive scenery. It is an artwork that has more than earned the Oscar it has got as best foreign film in 1998, along with several other awards.
And i am proud to have been asked to participate with calligraphy and handwritten material, although it is only clearly visible in the last half minute when (my) hand writes the last words of the testament, undersigning with - (see for yourself!).
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