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Tom Vansant is an emergency physician from Brussels who is desperately searching for his daughter who ran away from home and is now missing for eighteen months. He meets a girl of whom he ... See full summary »
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Koen De Bouw,
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13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?
Felix van Groeningen
Koen De Graeve
Vincke and Verstuyft are one of the best detective teams of the Antwerp police force. When they are confronted with the disappearance of a top official and the murder of two prostitutes, the trail leads to the almost retired assassin Angelo Ledda. Since Ledda starts showing symptoms of Alzheimer's, it's getting more and more difficult to complete his contracts. When he has to murder a 12-year old call-girl, he refuses and becomes a target himself. While Vincke and Verstuyft are chasing him and counting the corpses, Ledda is taking care of his employers. Written by
When Ledda is driven through Antwerp, the license plates on the taxi start with the letter "T". It is only since 2003 that taxis are obliged to use these special plates, the movie is set in 1995. See more »
I saw this film at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Although based on a novel, this stylish police thriller's main conceit ("hit-man has Alzheimer's") could have been lifted from a Hollywood film executive's idea of "high concept". Except that it would have made a forgettable Hollywood picture. Instead, director Van Looy sets this story in his native Belgium. Police detectives Vincke and Verstuyft are like a modern day Starsky and Hutch, without the bad haircuts. Who knew that Antwerp even had police, never mind such cool ones? Their job is to track down the man who's killed several high-profile politicians and a young child prostitute.
Reminding me a lot of Terence Stamp in The Limey, veteran actor Jan Decleir portrays aging hitman Angelo Ledda, whose refusal to kill the young girl leads him to seek revenge on the people who want her dead. His deterioration is a cause for sympathy as well as a plot device. He must complete his "mission" before he forgets his reasons for carrying it out. He also plays a cat and mouse game with the police who are trying to solve the killings, staying one step ahead until he can no longer think clearly.
Van Looy admitted his fondness for "police thrillers with a soul" and especially for the work of Michael Mann, and the influence of Mann is everywhere. If you like Mann, you'll like this film. Well-developed characters, moody cinematography and fine acting didn't completely save this film, though. I thought the plot was a little too straightforward, and the film itself was about 20 minutes too long, with a couple of false endings that could have been re-cut. I think I would have given a shorter version of this film an 8, but even if it was a slightly derivative cop film, it was a slightly derivative cop film IN FLEMISH, which has to count for something!
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