Dutch people making a quality show; that doesn't happen very often!
Dutch people can't make fantastic television shows like Six Feet Under or The Sopranos. That's what I thought before watching this marvelous piece of cinema.
Like in both HBO-titles I mentioned, the charm of this show is that its characters aren't particularly nice people. They are all people with a past, with unresolved emotional damage, having wrong expectations of life and that are angry at others for their misfortune. All of their story lines circle around ''pater familias'' Willy Waltz ( Aart Staartjes). After being diagnosed with a tumour in his brain, he must come to terms with the fact that his life is over and that his legacy, the circus with the family name Waltz, will seize to exist in these modern times. His sons, gay in denial ( Theo Maassen ), father of three children, with marital problems ( Barry Atsma ), and the rebellious young one ( Koen Wouterse ), can't fulfill the high expectations of Willy Waltz. They can't seem to cooperate and keep their heads above the water to keep the circus running. And than there is Olga Lippinsky ( Olga Louzgina ), spouse of Willy Waltz, that wants to inherit the circus, totally against the will of the family.
Waltz is full of depressing shots of muddy grass fields, typical Dutch rainy days, a loosely hanging circus tent, dirty environments. It all adds up to the grim story of a man seeing his dreams dying up like snow melts in the sun. Depressing, yes, but if you can cope with that, it's a beautiful story. Not the happiest one, but life isn't all fun and games, so televisions shows also needn't to be all lightness. I also really liked the sadistic humor, like one off the sons pretending to choke in front of a group of children with cancer.
The biggest compliment I must give to Aart Staartjes, for defying his stigma as Sesame street neighbor, by playing in such a grim and mature movie. He is a fantastic actor. I compare his performance to what James Gandolfini did with Tony Soprano; creating a man that is charismatic at the one hand, but nasty, full of rage and simple minded at the same time.
And then one thing that slightly bothered me. The series just contains 7 episodes, and that's a little bit too little to end all of the story lines. There are a few story lines that now feel unfinished. It'd be better if there were at least 12/13 episodes, like in most of the American quality TV-shows.
My final conclusion: If all Dutch television shows would be as good as Waltz, I'd be such a happy person. But in the land of the blind, one-eye is king. And I'm pretty sure that Waltz is that King at the moment!
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