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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Girl next door turns into maffia career woman

7/10
Author: (adriovergaauw@hotmail.com) from Rotterdam, Netherlands
17 April 2002

Two of the finest Dutch actresses, Thekla Reuten en Kim van Kooten, are young and close friends, waiting for what future will bring. Thekla dreams of moving to the South, of having a clothes shop on an island in the Mediterranean. She meets a boyfriend who shares this dream and has the money to make it come true. Suddenly he dies. She decides to go on her own. That's where the story begins.

By the way, it happens to be a true story. It is all fully documented by the Italian department of justice and in a book of a famous professor of criminology.

In the Mediterranean, a long way from home, Thekla Reuten "Bella Bertien" changes from modest shop owner into not so modest maffia manager. She never ever plans to do so, it just happens to her, but she energetically embraces it. Bella Bertien is a blondine with a lot of natural charm. The new found world appeals to her social skills and her ability to see through people. As her secret career in the world of excitement and money grows bigger, she cannot avoid a clash with her friend Kim van Kooten who continues to live in the normal world.

This movie doesn't portrait the maffia world. Neither are there car pursuits or big shootings in this low budget movie. And, unusual in a Dutch movie, also sex is lacking, although Thekla Reuten shows her great legs continuously. But script and acting in this movie are excellent. Bella Bertien wants to make the best of her life while life is overwhelming her. The metamorphose in her conduct and the look into her character are completely convincing and will fascinate every viewer.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Low-key drama. better than average

Author: Misha Davids from Arnhem, The Netherlands
9 September 2003

The Netherlands don't really have a tradition of crime films, and those expecting something like Goodfellas or The Godfather will be disappointed. This low-key drama follows the life and misfortunes of 'Bella' Bettien Martens, a Dutch girl who rose through the ranks of the international drugs maffia before disappearing into a witness protection program.

The script falls flat sometimes, and there are some rough spots here and there. But generally this is a better-than-average attempt at showing the dark side of crime. Thekla Reuten is excellent in the title role. Keep a look out for the guy that played Kazim in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Very interesting

9/10
Author: hanspos from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
7 September 2003

Bella Bettien is based on a true story. That's the gripping fact of this film. The film shows how a Dutch girl got involved in the international narcotics world, and makes us a witness of her incredible career. As part of an International Police Operation, called "Green Ice", Bettien was arrested at Piazza Navona in Rome in 1992. She was forced to make a choice: cooperate with the authorities, or to spend the rest of her life in jail. She cooperated. Many criminals were arrested and sentenced and Bettien disappeared. Somewhere in this world the REAL Bettien still lives, now being a "guest" of a Witness Protection Programme.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful biopic about Bettien Martins

8/10
Author: Stefan Tetelepta from Holland
17 April 2002

I liked this biopic! It's the real life story about the Dutch drugsqueen Bella Bettien Martins. She's smart and beautiful and wins the trust of a colombian drugslord. I hope we see more of Thekla Reuten in the future! See is outstanding in the title role!

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Bad

Author: Alex-372 from The Hague, The Netherlands
1 September 2003

This movie is why Dutch movies have a bad reputation. The stilted, sophomoric dialogue only highlights the director's inability to commit an autobiography to celluloid.

I like drug movies like Blow, Traffic, Home Grown, and of course the other side of the law, like Miami Vice.

However, this movie is too slow, it thinks it can just meander from event to event without actually contributing anything, which makes me think the book was badly written as well. Is the lead even a real blonde? Because her hair/wig thing looks like a five-year old took a can of hairspray and went crazy. You'd think that in Holland they'd at least could get a natural blonde to play the lead? How did this soppy melodrama ever get made? Why the title? Because in Holland right now it's become a tasteless cliché to put "la" in front of any woman who is perceived to be a diva (La Millekam, La Brink) - which is why another title is La Bella Bettien.

Classless, sycophantic, tasteless, uninspired. Not recommended at all.

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4 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Awful

2/10
Author: Ben Grimm from Rotterdam, The Netherlands
5 May 2004

This (TV) film was made in a series of Dutch TV films. I wonder how the network producing this movie (AVRO) managed to produce something this awful when they produced a magnificent TV film in the same series (Cloaca, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0375662/).

This movie suffers from some real Dutch movie diseases: massive and annoying overacting, unbelievable and contrived characters, well-known Dutch actors trying to portray foreigners (who, as a result, speak with a terrible Dutch accent, making it even less believable), and a thoroughly wooden screenplay (especially the portrayal of violence, including someone getting shot in the head without spilling an ounce of brain or blood, even managing to put a newspaper over his head after being shot - maybe they forgot to bring the stage blood?).

At a time when Dutch movies are climbing out of the amateurish pit they were in for a long time, this movie is a giant setback. The only positive side to it is that this is merely a TV film, not a major movie destined for international rotation or (God forbid) a serious film festival.

Obviously, that's a negative side-effect for Cloaca, which is real motion picture material and could use a wider audience.

Anyway, if you're unfortunate enough to run into La Bella Bettien, just gaze at Thekla Reuten's lips and eyes and forget she was ever in a movie this horrible.

I might have given this a 3, but since the movie is actually based on true events, the additional talent needed to turn a true story into an unbelievable movie means the score drops down to 2.

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