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D'Ardennen
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Ardennes More at IMDbPro »D'Ardennen (original title)

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Exciting and ambitious thriller

8/10
Author: Ruben Mooijman from Ghent, Belgium
23 November 2015

'D'Ardennen' is Robin Pront's first feature film, but I'd have sworn it was made by a very experienced film maker. This is a well-made, exciting, and ambitious movie - a successful accomplishment in every respect.

Pront hasn't made it easy for himself. To mention just one thing: the film is spoken entirely in the dialect of the Flemish city Antwerp. That means that even here in Flanders, it is shown with subtitles. Commercially, that's a drawback, but it makes the movie much more authentic.

The film is built on a very strong screenplay. Two brothers commit a holdup, but only one of them manages to escape. The other one is caught and convicted, and is released from jail four years later. After the reunion, he slowly pulls his brother down in a spiral of violence and crime. His former girlfriend plays a crucial part in his self-destructive behaviour. The tense relationship between the two brothers is characterized by unspoken reproaches on the one hand and strong family ties on the other. The girl is the reason for the dramatic developments that lead to a bloody climax.

Not only is this a very intelligent thriller, it is also a great movie from a cinematographic point of view. Pront and his cinematographer are very good in filming scenes through mirrors or windows, creating surprising and original effects. The crucial reunion between the two brothers is filmed in the rear view mirror of a car, accentuating the emotional distance that has grown between them. When they are having a meal in a restaurant, they are filmed form both sides of the window pane, with raindrops creating a nice visual effect. The locations are very well chosen: Antwerp is shown as an industrial wasteland, and the snowy hills of the Ardennes are filmed as a creepy place with weird inhabitants.

The film slowly works its way towards a bloody apotheosis, which was a bit overdone to my taste. The story didn't really need the considerable body count, above all because at the end there is a surprising twist with much dramatic effect. But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise outstanding film.

Just like Oscar-nominated Bullhead a few years ago, this is a Flemish film with international appeal. Too bad Belgium has already selected Jaco Van Dormael's last film for the Academy Awards.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

See this now!

9/10
Author: Sandcooler from Belgium
24 October 2015

Belgian cinema has gotten more and more ambitious in this past decade, and that newfound self esteem certainly paved the way for something like "D'Ardennen". This is the kind of movie that takes guts to make, particularly when you're working on a shoestring budget. It starts of very slowly, but you really need the meandering (okay...boring) first act to appreciate what follows. Director Robin Pront gradually makes his characters more insane as the movie progresses, and plays with your expectations beautifully. The two brothers this movie revolves around seem like small time crooks, dumb guys who are down on their luck but good at heart. When you're proved wrong, it hits you like a sledgehammer. In the end, you're treated to one of the most messed- up plot twists I've seen in years. Nobody left that theatre smiling, nobody was even talking. If you can achieve that, you've written a pretty amazing and gripping ending. "D'Ardennen" is occasionally marketed as a cross between the Dardenne brothers and Tarantino, which is incredibly inaccurate: actually it's not like anything else I've ever seen, and just for that it deserves a lot of credit.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Brothers

Author: GUENOT PHILIPPE (philippe.guenot@dbmail.com) from France
16 April 2016

What a terrific crime drama from Belgium. I the line of BULLHEAD released four years ago, you deal here with a pure product of what the Flemish film industry can give at its best. Gritty, tragic, moving, brutal film that begins as a drama for the first half before resuming as a pure dark crime tale. Depressing, not for the squeamish, I warn you. An unforgettable experience. Astounding performances pulled by a flawless cast. The story of two brothers, one from the can, and the other desperately trying to go in the right way.

The director deserves to be closely watched at in the future.

A pure jewel, a masterpiece.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Excellent movie

10/10
Author: Stijn Verrept from Temse
17 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've been a member of IMDb for over 10 years but this is my first review. When I saw this movie didn't have any reviews I felt compelled to write one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Being Flemish I probably enjoyed the dialects even more but don't let this stop you to go see this movie. The plot is excellent, there is never a dull moment throughout the movie. The cinematography is top notch, the choice of locations are excellent, a really Flemish setting: the home of the boys, the discotheque, the self- help group, forest, etc.

What sets apart this movie were both the performances of the actors and the authentic music throughout the movie. Not only are Kevin Janssens and Veerle Baetens great actors, Jeroen Perceval was great as well, being the writer of this movie. My hat off for the performances of the mother of the brothers and the car-wash owner (Peter Van den Begin) who did an excellent job portraying the character! What I also liked are the little jokes in this movie, it's those things that lift a good movie to the next level of excellence.

This movie is yet another sign we should be proud of Flemish movies! Imho: Oscar material!

If you haven't seen this, go see it now, you won't be disappointed!

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brothers to the end

7/10
Author: cdcrb from United States
10 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Flemish. Kenny, a social misfit, is getting out of a four year stint in the slammer. he has left behind his girl friend Sylvie and his younger brother, dave. dave and Sylvie fell in love while Kenny was away and she is pregnant with dave's baby. *SPOILER ALERT* anyone who has ever been to a movie will know that things like this don't usually turn out so well. Kenny has a hard time on the sea of life and before long kills the guy he thinks was hitting on Sylvie. he gets dave to help him get rid of the body and things really get sticky. there are twists and turns galore. the lead, kevin jannsens, is very intense but his brother, jeroen Perceval holds his own. it's a very "b" movie, but once it gets going it doesn't stop to take a breath until the end. so the clichés are easily forgiven, in my book. go along for the ride. I really don't think you'll be disappointed.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Well-made and well-acted movie, but the mixed bag of criminal actions and family drama will not satisfy either genre lover

6/10
Author: JvH48 from Amersfoort, The Netherlands
11 July 2016

Saw this at the Ghent film festival 2015, where it was part of the official opening night. Programming a Belgian movie at a Belgian film festival may seem suspicious if not chauvinistic. On the other hand, for a prestigious film festival like Ghent's, we can safely assume they present something at the opening night deserving such an advantageous position. And indeed, it was worthy of its place. The one negative is the potential problem I see upfront due to the uneven genre mixing, criminal action next to family drama. It may not attract its intended audience, or others having bought tickets may find themselves misplaced during a screening.

The story starts with the immediate aftermath of a failed home jacking. We never see or hear the ugly details, only what is shown to us in the opening scene where Dave enters the getaway car, obviously in sheer panic, while uttering words along the line that it all went very wrong and that they need to leave forthwith. When asked what happened with their mate Kenneth, no real answer is given. Later on we see Kenneth in court where he is sentenced to 7 years in prison, the maximum penalty due to his crime history. What really happened when he was left behind on the crime scene, remains unclear. Nevertheless, it still burdens their relationship when Kenneth is released after 4 years. We can only assume that Dave's failed part in the home jacking never became public, and that guilty secret is used by Kenneth after his release to blackmail Dave, pushing Dave to actions he actually abhors, stretching Dave's resolution to live as a law abiding citizen to the limit.

And there is a second guilty secret, of a completely different category. Dave wants to tell Kenneth something all along, but we see that he never succeeds in finding the right moment or the right words. It has to do with Kenneth's former girl friend Sylvie, who we see initially as member of a self-help group, where she is applauded for staying drugs free for 2 years. It happens that the same Sylvie is pregnant from Dave, and that they are on the lookout for a home on their own. Hence it is logical that we see Dave avoiding involvement in any of Kenneth's actions. Moreover, for the sake of their worrying mother, Dave keeps a continuous eye on Kenneth, and even follows him on a distance on various occasions. Including the worrying mother, these are the four main protagonists that carry the story from start to finish.

Kenneth's outfit, posture and hairstyle suggest overly clear (too much?) that he is a loose cannon without any intention for a career change. His behavior is overbearing from the outset, at first merely pushy yet without violence, but losing more and more restraints later on. In the last half hour, it escalates beyond control, thereby gaining nothing in the end and leaving only losers. His brother Dave succeeds in keeping his hands clean, though ultimately involved in an act of deadly force albeit as a matter of self-defense.

We witness a lot of violence in the proceedings, but it is an inherent part of the story and not filmed just for shocking purposes. Most of the violence is suggested rather than shown in raw detail. Nevertheless, it leaves a depressed feeling on the viewer, at least that happened to me, by demonstrating that there are really people who think and live that way, and assume their own goals to be important enough to harm other people in the process.

All in all, the focus of the story changes back and forth from criminal action to the relationship between the two brothers and the family members around them. Violence and crime are not the main ingredient, only the binding element to show how the relationship between the two brothers develops, given aforementioned guilty secrets kept from the outside world as well as between themselves. Though the violence is not made explicit, the criminal actions tend to distract from the real story that ultimately carries the drama. Viewers who are interested in action movies, will not be happy with the emphasis on family relationships. Viewers who are interested in family drama, will be discouraged by the crimes that overshadow a considerable number of scenes. In other words, a mixed bag that will not satisfy either category of viewers. Yet, well made and well-acted, but the final product is just above average by trying to humor two categories of viewers who both will leave the theater disappointed.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A good solid Belgian movie

7/10
Author: The Couchpotatoes from Belgium
13 September 2016

As a Belgian we might have different opinions about this movie. I thought it was a well made movie with a good story. But most of it's charm is that is raw, straight out of life, because of the use of the dialect language. It's in Flemish, more specifically in the Antwerp dialect. In Belgium almost every town has it's own dialect and for some it is difficult to understand but the dialect from Antwerp is one of those everybody understands in Belgium. Not like the dialect from East or West Flanders that only people from there understand. So I can get that if you don't speak or understand those dialects that the movie looses a bit of it's value. Even though I thought, seeing the budget that is quite high for a Belgian production, the movie has a good story with good actors and a couple of surprising twists. To me it is with Bull Head one of the better Belgian movies from the last decade.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The brotherhood is tested for a woman they're onto.

6/10
Author: Reno Rangan from Somewhere in the Cosmos
14 April 2016

The Dutch crime-drama about two brothers, especially the plot revolves as a love triangle, but it is not a romance movie. The movie opened in the middle of some crime scene which is never going to be revealed what actually happened, because it wasn't important as the film's narration is something else. What comes later is the twist in the character's relationship with each other, especially between two brothers and a woman they're in love.

The actual story begins a few years later to that opening incident. Looks everything has changed at that point, except one of the brother who just stepped outside the prison. The remaining is all about the condition of the family and the romance relationship that appears to be complicated to explain to one another. When it begins to unfold, the final twist strikes which bring further complexity to the conclusion section.

Frankly, I did not like the first two acts. Actually, I expected it to be a crime story. With two tough characters the scenes did not create enough curiosity or the thrilling moments. But the third act is where the movie changed its pace as well as genre to what I was eagerly waiting for. Because of the decent developments in the earlier, this ending was so exciting. But overall product is just above average. That means it is not a bad flick, yet everyone's not going to like it.

6/10

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

above mediocre and not a typical Belgian flick

7/10
Author: trashgang from Midian
12 May 2016

Rumours were out that this was a brutal flick. Have seen it I can say that I can understand that some will have difficulty with the fight scene's. It's brutal but it never becomes gory or messy. But still this is a flick that rises above the mediocre Belgian flicks.

Even as it is spoken in the Antwerp language this time it didn't bother me because the two brothers were low life so it's normal that they can't talk decent. The acting from Kevin Janssens (Kenneth) is really excellent, to say the least, all characters were perfectly type cast and all acting is high standard.

People can't be changed and that's what this flick shows with a twist at the end. A must see.

Gore 0,5/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5

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5 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Silly story with dumb characters

3/10
Author: (petrovaz@mail.ru) from Russian Federation
28 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dave and Kenny are brothers and robbers. After a failed robbery attempt Kenny goes to prison, he kisses his girlfriend Sylvie good bye, she promises to wait for him but ultimately abandons him and starts dating his brother Dave (without telling Kenny anything, of course). OK, these things do happen. When Kenny is released from prison, Dave and Sylvie decide to keep their relationship secret (just for no reason). Kenny gets suspicious, confronts Sylvie but she still does not want to tell him the truth. Eventually Kenny finds out, goes insane and kills Sylvie. This is it. The end of the story. Why on earth was this movie made? What is the point? No answers. The characters are really dumb and lacking the kind of psychological depth or anything else that might make us sympathize with them, the plot is thin and unconvincing. Tec contribution is solid although the movie was made on a relatively low budget.

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