Spetters (1980) Poster

(1980)

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8/10
Don't miss this one!
bart-11719 January 2005
I just saw this film last night and was really amazed by it. Unlike the Verhoeven films that most American audiences are familiar with (Robocop, Total Recall etc) it was a compelling coming of age piece set in Holland. Like most of his early Dutch films, you can feel many of the hallmarks of his style coming together and it's a testament to his skill as a director that he can make a small character-driven film about ordinary people like SPETTERS every bit as compelling as a gigantic special effects driven spectacle like ROBOCOP.

This is an 80's disco motocross movie that has very little disco and very little motocross. What it has are many strong characters, all of them navigating life transitions and trying to figure out their place in the world.

As for the "shocking" scenes that a lot of people are referring to in the posts, there is a fair amount of sex and nudity (male especially) in this film but to call it "shocking" is misleading. The reason the film's frank treatment of sexuality is so eye opening is the way Verhoeven handles it as no big deal. Two men sneak into a subway for a tryst, and you actually see one of the guys go down on the other guy. Two pairs of teenagers sneak into an abandoned building to have sex and you see it. Or when a man and a woman lay in bed talking after having sex, you see the guy totally naked as well as the girl. What happens happens and it's presented as is.

Verhoeven doesn't cut away from nudity, but at the same time doesn't artificially sexualize it by zooming in it, laying in sexy background music etc etc. Like the co-ed shower scene in STARSHIP TROOPERS, it's presented in a completely matter of fact way. Verhoeven doesn't allude to anything in these scenes, and it gives the film a power and honesty and that wouldn't be there otherwise.

Overall I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie to anyone.

Bart Blackstone * Film Club Hollywood, CA
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9/10
Bleak, unrelenting, all the better for it...
mentalcritic18 March 2004
Verhoeven's fifth feature-length film was attacked by critics, financiers, and much of the Dutch people alike for being "decadent", or "perverted" when originally released in 1980. Twenty-four years later, and unlike what has happened with Showgirls, Paul is having the last laugh. Even his worst film, 1995's Showgirls, has a glimmer of redeeming value, but the difference in Spetters is that it doesn't need any.

At heart, Spetters is the tale of two young amateur motocross racers and their mechanic. Along with their girlfriend, their lives are irrevocably altered when they cross paths with a fast food vendor and her brother. The whole film runs like a slice of life, and nothing that happens in real life is too distasteful for the camera.

If you don't want elements of the plot revealed, you can stop reading now.

The film has been accused of being anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-disabled. Once again, Verhoeven gets the last laugh when it becomes clear to anyone who watches it with their eyes open that none of these things are true. The story of one character's sexual confusion is played out in graphic detail, sure, but it is portrayed exactly as it would happen in real life. Sure, not every experience of homosexuality is as negative as in Spetters, but enough are to make this portrayal valid. The main woman of the story simply manipulates the situation or uses it as best she can to escape a situation she wants out of. Any woman with an ounce of strength in her character will do the same. The character who winds up paralysed finds himself reflecting on what he has lost, and it is enough to make him lose all sense of value in his life. Again, this happens every day in the real world.

There is a reason why films by Paul Verhoeven attract a certain kind of fan. Regardless of whether he succeeds or fails with his artistic goals, I have yet to see him sell out to the lowest common denominator. I have also never seen a film directed by Verhoeven where the camera is moved extraneously, obscuring details for fear of what the MPAA might have to say. The viewer is spared no details, even if it might make them turn from the screen in disgust.

If I could sum up Spetters in one word, it would be "relentless". I've seen many a film or television show that claims to show what kind of extreme pressures teenagers or young adults live under. Spetters is the first film I have seen in two decades that even makes the attempt, and better still it comes uncomfortably close. All in all, I consider it worthy of a nine out of ten. There are some elements that seem at odds with what Verhoeven would like us to believe they mean, but the effect overall is surprisingly good. Anyone who wants to see what would happen if they merged realistic versions of your typical Brat Packer film with a realistic version of Days Of Thunder will be well-served by checking out Spetters.
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10/10
A Great Film
Aw-komon21 October 2000
This film is really great. It's about three young, cocky Dutch guys whose lives revolve around Motorcross racing and their encounters with a cute, ambitious, smart working-class girl who lives in a trailer and is a short order cook around the Motorcross site.

It is ultra-realistic and true to life and at the same time over-the-top and absurd to satirize the equally ridiculous but more fleeting absurdities of everyday life; in fact, 'real life' is much more absurd than anything that happens in this movie, but 'toned down,' and harder to notice, except upon reflection. With 'over the top' movies like "Spetters" the absurdities we all notice are turned 'way up high' for instant and easier identification and reflection. Other great movies of this type I've seen are Verhoeven's American version of "Spetters," "Showgirls," Sam Fuller's "Shock Corridor," Ken Russell's fantastic uncut version of "Crimes of Passion," and Mathew Bright's first "Freeway," but "Spetters" tops them all. It is the ultimate masterpiece of 'over-the-top' satire.

Try to find a well-stocked video store that carries the uncensored, subtitled Director's cut for rent (it's got some very graphic sex scenes in it with full fronal nudity, and a homosexual gang rape that makes anything in "American Me" look tame); it's a well transferred version which came out on HBO video a few years ago, and is now unavailable for sale for some reason; I'd buy it in a second if it was available.
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10/10
One of my best memories of the 1980's
lambiepie-24 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I found "Spetters" was one of the most true to life "teen" to adult coming of age films made in the 1980's that didn't get the credit or respect it deserved.

"Spetters" takes an ensemble cast and manges to touch upon each piece of the joys and anguish of growing up at this age in a small town. What appeals the most to me about Spetters, is that even though this is filmed in Europe, the locations/cinematography is small town "anywhere"! The ensemble cast is also small town "anyone", and very appealing.

The ages 19 and 20 are one of the first notable "changes" of your life, and "Spetters" addresses those turning point decisions well. 19 is the end of the "teen" years, and 20 is not quite yet the adult so for these two years you are seriously thinking about how to make your way in the world - what is your talent, have you made the right decision to go into business, stay at home, finish college, date heavily, marry and most of all you are both questioning and coming to grips with WHO YOU ARE. In "Spetters" some are running away from who they are, others are embracing it, while still others are met with an unexpected future that destroys all of their future hopes and dreams.

At 19 and 20 - we all think we are indestructible. "Spetters" addresses this and the subsequent handling of tragedy and loss both physical and mental. Add in the "outside factors" of friends, sexuality, family, community, religion --- each (and more) shape in how these decisions play themselves out in their lives.

"Spetters" is filmed like you are watching life as it progresses day by day - it begins in the same place as it ends. "Spetters" is about three young men who live in a small town yearning to get out the only way they know how: via motor cross sport. All three men think they have the talent to make an be a champion in the sport like their hometown hero, and one in fact does posses the talent to go far, while the other two are placed in subordinate positions just to look from the outside in. Insert a smart, pretty and sexy young woman and her brother who have gone from town to town selling 'questionable' food snacks at the races. The woman also secretly yearns for something as well: real love, financial security and permanence. While at a stop over in this town, she sees potential in one of the men and takes it for all she's got the only way she knows how.

"Spetters" does have explicit sexual situations that drive the film in my opinion. And I'll admit, prior to seeing this film, there is much I had no idea took place. I would assume this might make the film as shocking for some viewers as it was for me. The frame of mind, surviving daily in this small town, and other growth situations of this group of characters are very important so their sexual development/exploits regardless of how shocking, are there to remind you of how these characters 'live'. And be warned, the sexual situations are heterosexual as well as homosexual, rape and consensual.

"Spetters" is a brilliant film of daily life, love and tragedy. If you can get the uncut, un-rated version in its original language, do. That is the first way I saw on on the Los Angeles based "Z" Channel and I am for all foreign director's visions to be seen uncut, unedited, undubbed and experienced in the vision of which they wanted to present it. A strong NC-17 (USA Code) film.
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10/10
Worlds Apart
jpseacadets21 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film is no "Saturday Night Fever." For one thing, "Spetters" is more of an art film; while the other reeks of commercialism throughout. The music by the Bee Gees, moreover, makes it look more like a record album vainly attempting to be a film. Second, sexual repression in SNF more impacts the lives of the American kids than it does the Dutch boys. The garage scene in the latter film (where the three young bikers compare erections to see who gets first crack at the carny gal)would be judged too homo-erotic for American audiences to take, for instance. While the American boys go disco dancing for fun; the dutch kids try testing their courage in more dangerous ways, such as bike racing. While the only death in "Spetters" occurs when a biker deliberately crashes into a moving truck (a suicide, rather than living his life as an impotent cripple); the American dies falling off a bridge while stunting! Even the role models for the two groups of young men are different. While John Travolta admires a poster of Al Pacino, an actor, on his bedroom wall and takes pride in his hairdo; the bikers' hero is a national cyclist whom they want to emulate and become someday. Defining manhood, in American terms, becomes just another marketing tool(since Travolta has no aspirations to act); while the three bikers know the way to manhood lies through courage, not false glamor and appearances.

The scene where one of the bikers gets paid back for robbing and beating gay men by being gang-raped by tough-looking homosexuals, is excellent. Here the tables are turned in a way we would never see in American films, since gays are supposed to be victims who never fight back against their attackers. This demonstration of courage to defend one's honor and dignity makes "Spetters" a far superior film than SNF. SNF, despite all its trendiness as a barometer of the seventies, treats both its men and women as garden variety, working-class stereotypes. For genuine closeness, heroism and male-bonding, check this one out at the video store (make sure it's the uncut 123 min. DVD Director's version). A better coming-of-age film you will never see.
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Excellent movie
mlwitvliet20 October 2010
Yesterday I saw Spetters again after a long long time, and it still does it for me. It's even become a trip down memory-land back to the good old eighties when I was a teenager myself.

It's a story that could have happened in real life. It shows the conservativeness of the heavily reformed Christians in the Netherlands in an excellent way and it still goes like that nowadays. The Netherlands are well known for it's liberality, but be aware, there is a other side to the Netherlands to that isn't liberal at all and it's shows in this movie. The way Eef's father is raising him and the way Eef is resisting his father is something i've seen a lot in real life.

One slight downfall from the movie is the way Eef found out he was gay. As he didn't actually seem to have any problems with the ladies, it's hard to buy that he suddenly became gay after he was raped. There were not any signals before. As for the homophobic humor, well, we all like to think we have the biggest one and the way it was handled is typical dutch. We are liberal about sex and like to joke about it. You feel for the characters and it's got heart. And that's always a hell of a achievement.

Furthermore i was surprised to see so many high raids by people outside the Netherlands. It's a typical liberal dutch story, so i'm surprised to see that people outside the Netherlands seem to understand the movie better then the people that commented the movie from the Netherlands.
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Much maligned minor-masterpiece from Paul Verhoeven.
ThreeSadTigers29 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Paul Verhoeven's much-underrated film Spetters tells the typically brash and uncompromising story of three young men growing up in a sleepy village just outside of Rotterdam, consumed by small-town ennui, and desperate for a life more glamorous and exciting than their own loafing existence of discothèques, motor-cross and general everyday tedium. It has a lot in common with certain American teen-melodramas of the late 70's and early 80's (films like Foxes, Rumble Fish, The Outsiders, River's Edge, etc), though is shot through with that liberated European sensibility that probably has more in common with Fassbinder, in terms of gritty stylisation. The story doesn't really advance on the initial set up, with this being more of a character based film in the minor-key (at odds with some of Verhoeven's better known films, like Robocop, Basic Instinct and The Fourth Man), with the director drawing on the relationships between the lead characters and their various situations, in order to elicit a greater sense of drama. The characters are all believable and likable to an extent - despite the opening scenes establishing them as a bunch of arrogant, feckless (possibly homophobic?) punks only out for themselves - however, as the film progresses, Verhoeven and his scriptwriter Gerard Soeteman (who collaborated with the director on all of his pre-Hollywood films) begin playing with notions of irony, to strip away all the remnants of their confidence and self-assurance in a number of melodramatic tragedies.

The film has a great style and feel to it, with Verhoeven capturing the real feel of early-80's Holland (or so I'd imagine) whilst also establishing a mood of endless possibilities for these three main characters. The early scenes of the film are quite bawdy and have a rather light-hearted and comedic tone to them, which is important, as it brings us into the world of the characters and allows us to become familiar with them before Verhoeven hits us with the hard stuff. When the film reaches the halfway mark, Verhoeven and Soeteman introduce the character of Fientje, a seductive hotdog vender who rolls into town with her bodybuilding brother on the day of the big motor-cross championship, only to immediately cross-paths with the three young bikers and the various other supporting players who will become more important towards the end of the film (...the dirt bike champion, the TV reporter, the hell's angels, etc). Her presence in town is treated with hostility by many of the characters, though ultimately, she proves to be an important catalyst for many of the major events in the film, enticing the three young men and seemingly persuading them that that can do "anything".

The film then takes it's Fassbinder aspirations to the next level, with each scene escalating to a frenzied sense of melodrama and tragedy, as Verhoeven introduces such themes as disability, religious fanaticism, homosexuality and suicide. Like all of the director's work (not just his early Dutch films), Spetters is both provocative and confrontational, with Verhoeven always trying to get some kind of response out of the viewer. However, whereas his early films, like Business is Business and Turkish Delight seemed like they were flaunting their liberated sexuality as something of a badge of honour (...whilst his U.S. work is largely out to push buttons), this film seems much more natural.

The problems the three young men encounter in this film (including parental abuse, disability, rape and ridicule) are everyday occurrences... true, they're exaggerated here, so as Verhoeven can achieve a greater sense of resonance and drama, but the whole thing seems all the more engaging and, to some extent, touching, especially compared to the bloated melodrama of his later film, Showgirls. It should be noted that Spetters, although one of the best films of the 1980's (in my opinion), certainly isn't for everyone. It's probably the furthest Verhoeven has ever gone in terms of the on screen depiction of sexuality, more so than The Fourth Man. Here, for the first time in its full-uncut version (though it has been shown uncut in the past on channels like Bravo and Film Four), we see the director in his element, mixing humour with drama, action with tragedy, and character with controversy.

The oft-discussed rape scene that happens half-way through the film is a real test for the audience, not simply for what is depicted within the scene (male gang rape replete with a brief erection) but also within the overall context (the protagonist eventually realises, through the rape, that he is indeed gay!). As well as this, there's also a two second shot of actually falatio, three erections (as the boys make a wager as to who has the biggest!!) and a moment between one of the boys, Rien, and the promiscuous Fientje, in which she strokes his penis in close-up. There's also a scene in which one of the hell's angels gets hot fat poured over him, some rather brutal scenes of domestic abuse and a violent suicide towards the end. Ultimately, the film ends with a glimmer of hope, building on top of the excellent style, script and moments of drama that have been peppered throughout this great, two-hour film. The direction from Verhoeven here is exceptional, whilst the performances, in particularly those from Renée Soutendijk, Maarten Spanjer and the tragic Hans van Tongeren, whose death sadly mirrored that of his character here, are all excellent and completely believable (whilst there's some fine cameo support offered from Verhoeven regulars, Jeroen Krabbé and Rutger Hauer). Spetters, for me, is an extreme film and something of a minor-masterpiece... it is also highly rewarding and engaging and ultimately, is evidence enough that Verhoeven, when taken away from films like Showgirls and Hollow Man, is a great filmmaker.
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8/10
Interesting Dutch drama
Tito-824 April 1999
While I wouldn't call this film anything great, it did manage to consistently keep me entertained and interested, and that usually isn't an easy task. The music stood out as a particularly effective part of the movie, as I often found it to be chilling. There were also a number of fascinating scenes in this movie, many of which would probably not be for all tastes. In fact, much like most Verhoeven films, this movie probably isn't for everybody, since it does get somewhat graphic at times. However, if you are a person who can handle the occasional disturbing image, then I would say that you should give this film a look.
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8/10
Brilliant
maartenvankrimpen25 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know why I like this film so much...I think there are so much element of the film which are just so dumb and silly, but at the same time, this is just a film that keeps spooking around in you're head and makes you want to see this film for the second time, and for the third time, and for the fourth time, and so on... The story is, I hope, familiar with all you guys who are reading this review, so I skip that part. It's just the sort of story I really would like to see more in Dutch films, and not in the way Johan Nijenhuis does it. A story with real emotions, and where people turn out really different than you think they are for real. Eef here for example, the homophobic who turns out to be gay himself. You don't see that kind of stuff in 'Volle Maan'. The things I really don't like about this is, most of all, the really childish humor in this film, like at the gas station where Eef asks a girl 'Shall I put that in?' (Zal ik m er even insteken). Lame, but I guess that was just 'cool' in that time. But I think this film is excellent just because of the raw manner of filming, with in general not brilliant acting performances, but just very touching.
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One of the earliest "fast" dutch movies
DubVersion4 September 2002
rating 8/10

Spetters in dutch has two meanings: "splashes" (of grease, dirt or blood) and "pretty people/hunk".

This movie is quick. To me it's enjoyable as an action movie, but also as a movie like "easy rider", depicting bikers' life in holland of the late 70's. It wouldn't be dutch if there ain't some tits'n'ass in it. But I don't think the movie evolves around it. It deals much more with choices, luck and destiny everyone makes. And that's the reason why i think it's a good movie. Beyond the action sequences there's a moral to be found. I think the story shows many stereotypes of people and let's them all interact realistically. That's the true strength of this movie. and always keep in mind: it's dutch, and up to that time, there were not many action movies made in holland. shortly after this movie Paul Verhoeven went to Hollywood, to my knowledge partly because of the bad dutch criticism to this movie.
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Verhoeven cleverly subverts the teen sex romp genre.
Infofreak8 September 2002
'Spetters' begins like one of the countless American teen coming of age "romps" we had to endure in the 1980s (....shudder...), but being a Paul Verhoeven movie things quickly become darker and more subversive. Verhoeven's most recent Hollywood effort 'Hollow Man' was a stinkeroo, but this shouldn't detract from his past achievements. Especially his brilliant output in the 1980s, a decade where mainstream movie making hit a new low (since surpassed I'm sad to say). Verhoeven didn't direct a bad movie in the 80s, which is something very few American directors can say truthfully. Even David Lynch gave us 'Dune' during this period. 'Spetters' is much tougher and confronting than you'd expect from scanning the basic plot line - three young horny guys pursue their dreams which centre around motorcross. That's what makes this movie so surprising and memorable. Verhoeven regulars Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe pop up in quite good cameos, but the movie is carried by the three young unknown (to international audiences) male leads. All are well cast and impressive. As is the foxy Renee Soutendijk, who would go on to play a major part in Verhoeven's next movie, the brilliant erotic thriller 'The Fourth Man'. 'Spetters' is raw and unpolished compared to many of Verhoeven's subsequent movies, but is definitely worth watching. Another winner from this often maligned director who I'm certain will one day get the attention and praise he deserves.
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8/10
A Slice of Dutch teen-life: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER Style!
MikeK-719 July 2004
I really found much to like about this hard-edged drama. For one thing; its impressionable cast with characters like Rien and Fientje; and sharp cinematography make it a real winner. I enjoy watching this as a double bill with SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER; there are strong similarities between the two. The scenes are shot with a lot of earnestness and validity. I find it ironically saddening that the man who played Rien (Hans van Tongeren) committed suicide in 1982 two years after he played this role at the young age of 28. It's nice to know that Verhoeven has a gift with drama as he does with big action movies like ROBOCOP and BASIC INSTINCT. If you have the means, choose this movie.
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6/10
'Teensploitation' pic with heart and soul
Libretio8 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
SPETTERS

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Sound format: Mono

Whilst standing at the crossroads of their lives, three oversexed teenagers (Hans van Tongeren, Toon Agterberg and Maarten Spanjer) are driven apart by a beautiful gold-digger (Renée Soutendijk) who seeks to benefit from their mutual ambitions.

Maverick filmmaker Paul Verhoeven turns the much-reviled 'teensploitation' subgenre on its head with this uncompromising depiction of three naive young men and their difficult journey from adolescence to maturity. Rebelling against their conservative small-town upbringing, the protagonists are forced to reap the whirlwind of their actions, leading to tragedy for some, redemption for others. Verhoeven's script (co-written with his regular collaborator Gerard Soeteman) tackles hot-button issues like sex, disability, religious faith and homosexuality in an up-front manner, leading some Dutch critics to berate the film's alleged 'misogyny' and 'homophobia' (similar accusations were levelled against some of Verhoeven's Hollywood features, including BASIC INSTINCT and SHOWGIRLS), but these complaints become diminished under scrutiny: True, Soutendijk's heartbreaker is little more than an avaricious trollop, but she's the only one who remains loyal to van Tongeren in the wake of a devastating accident which changes his life forever. It's also true that Agterberg is driven out of the closet by a vicious sexual assault which occurs late in the film, but this episode represents his passage into adulthood, giving him the courage to confront his demons, including his brutal, ultra-religious father.

Beautifully filmed, and acted with conviction by a sterling cast (there are extended cameos from Verhoeven regulars Jeroen Krabbé and Rutger Hauer), the movie benefits from an extraordinary sexual candor, light years removed from the cowardly R-rated rubbish flooding international cinemas at the time (PORKY'S, MEATBALLS, etc.). And though the sexual imagery here is only fleeting, it's also remarkably potent, and the actors are to be commended for their bravery. Sadly, van Tongeren - a hugely talented actor with a bright future in international cinema - committed suicide two years after the film was completed.

NB. The film's title is Dutch slang for handsome, arrogant young men.

(Dutch dialogue)
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10/10
Sexually graphic and great!
preppy-34 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Story about three guys who are 19 or 20--Hans (Maarten Spanjer), Rien (Hans von Tongeren) and Eef (Toon Agterberg). They live in a small industrial town in Holland. They have nothing in common except for their love of motocross. Then sexy Fientje (Renee Soutendijk) moves to town and makes a play for each of them thinking they have (or will have) plenty of money and she can live off them.

Great movie. It is vulgar and VERY sexually graphic--there's plenty of sex talk, full frontal shots of women AND men, simulated sex, a gay rape scene and a hardcore gay sex scene. Still they are all needed for the story and to understand the motivations of the guys. It's well-directed by Paul Verhoeven, has a pulsating soundtrack, moves quickly and has good acting--especially by Soutendijk and Agterberg. It has tragic and hopeful endings for all the guys done in a realistic and truthful manner. Also Rutger Hauer has a small role as a conceited motocross champion.

Verhoeven (who also wrote the script) was attacked for this film. It was called anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-cripple and way too sexually explicit (I do wonder how he got some of the actors to agree to perform in some of these scenes--especially the gay rape). He only made one more film in Holland ("The 4th Man") before coming to Hollywood and turning out one blockbuster after another. This was barely shown in the US and was put on cable in a horribly cut R rated print with dubbing! This review is based on the subtitled directors cut. This film may be way too graphic for some viewers but I was fascinated through the whole thing. Recommended.
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7/10
Destiny unfolds and each man learns who he is: a tragic hero, a repressed homosexual and an average loser. The men also measure who has the biggest cock.
erikweijers5 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Writer Gerard Soeteman has called Spetters a modern day fairy tale. Viewed as such, it can be forgiven some of its rough edges and far-fetched plot turns. The three princes/spetters all take a shot at winning the love of the heroine. Destiny unfolds and each man learns who he is: a tragic hero, a repressed homosexual and an average loser. The men also measure who has the biggest cock.

The movie apparently received a lot of criticism from gay and women rights movements of the time. In retrospect, I think this is because the gay character is treated just as cruelly by life as the other characters. Probably a more politically correct movie maker than Verhoeven would have made the homosexual the moral winner. I agree that his story is described in pretty broad strokes, to put it mildly. Of course, in real life, no person will discover his sexual identity after a rape. Still, I would defend Verhoeven here with the fairy tale argument.

The protests of feminists are somewhat less understandable. Were they protesting against the fact that the heroine is a cold-hearted gold digger? But there is also a good-natured female character in the movie. And besides, why should a movie portray an ideal world?

The camera work is great and the staging of the scenes has a nice flow to it. The motorcycle stunts are well done for a movie made on this budget. It is Verhoevens craftsmanship which keeps the movie entertaining all the while.
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10/10
Excellent satire of Western culture
tdesai999 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Verhoeven/Soetman's Spetters is a variation on Saturday Night Fever, a depiction of youth in their age, but unlike the latter film it accomplishes more by serving as a criticism of the entire society it depicts.

This criticism (whether conscious or not) is most obvious in the story of Rien Hartman, who kills himself not because he is in a wheelchair per se but because he can no longer get it up, even when his girlfriend tries to give him a blowjob. His manliness and potence is so important to him in this smalltown macho culture that he does not feel human without an erect penis. Of course plenty of people are disabled and live decent lives, but many are able to release their frustration over what they had by finding an inner peace through meditation or something similar. Rien never even considers such a thing because his culture does not allow it. The only religious outlet he has is the occult version of "Christianity" that is depicted in the film, a kind of extroverted showy social religion with nothing to offer the inner soul of the individual except temporary escape. Rien refuses to accept even this, both due to his own internal weakness and also due to its social character, which he feels shamed by.

Verhoeven depicts a world with only fake spirituality and no real values except for crusade and conquest. Sexual predation/conquest, financial opportunism, hypocritical preachers, reporters and businessmen are plentiful, but there is little give and take. People take action with limited vision, seeing only themselves and their own interests rather than a larger humanity or their place in it.

In SNF, the girl is a pathetic hanger-on who is raped in the end by her own friends for fun, because to them she is worth nothing because she gives herself no worth. In Spetters, the girl is strong but opportunistic, and there is a scene where you see the complexity and guilt of her character underneath the facade. The sexual stuff is accomplished with the closeted homosexual character, who is brutally raped for sport, and then ironically becomes gay because of it.

As in SNF, but in a more artistic and ironic way, the values are all skewed for these people. But in SNF, dancing provides a temporary outlet for this macho culture, and ultimately it seems that there is escape for the main character if he can just get out of his class. There is escape possible for the woman in Spetters too, yet it isn't clear that the escape will be better than the current reality, and the only one who really escapes is the predatory brother.

In any case, as one of the better "social" films of the past 40 years, I give it 10 stars.
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Treats the male body and sexuality as if they're normal
jm1070115 March 2012
The best thing about this movie is its extremely casual treatment of sex and male nudity - casual even for a European movie, and I've seen lots of them - just as if the male body and human sexuality were normal, natural and an integral part of everyday life.

Oh, wait... THEY ARE!! So what makes this movie remarkable is that it treats something that is about as natural as anything can be as if it really IS natural!

Isn't this a crazy world? that such a simple, straightforward concept can be still so controversial more than 30 years later that we have people expressing their horror and outrage in online reviews of this movie? It's amazing.

As if no man in real life ever gets an erection; as if no woman ever idly plays with a man's penis as if it were a flower; as if young straight men never compare the size of their penises. ALL of that happens in real life, but in a movie? HA! It should, but it doesn't.

So the way the male body and sex are treated in this movie is much more extraordinary and refreshing than it ought to be. Otherwise, this movie is okay but a little tiresome.

The focus on motorcycle racing is tedious. The acting is okay but not great (the movie's only two experienced actors - Jeroen Krabbé and Rutger Hauer - overact to such a clownish extent that it's embarrassing; but maybe that's just how Dutch actors are taught to act, because the novices are a lot more realistic).

The story is not particularly engaging and not at all believable (particularly one character's violent coming-out). And the woman who drives all the men crazy looks to me like a Cabbage Patch Kid with WAY too much makeup on - not sexy *AT ALL* - but then I'm gay, so I'm often dumbfounded by what turns straight men on.
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6/10
Surprise, YOU'RE GAY!!!!
bbraat31 July 2005
Let me insert a positive comment prior to my trashing one of the plots of the film: I thought it was great the way the filmmakers handled the nudity and sex. I wasn't shocked by it but rather I found it to be natural and expected when it was shown. often I find that movies that shy away from showing sex use its absence to titillate, for example, the well placed prop or hand that blocks the view of genitals. such practices only serve to draw MORE attention to those body parts. In this film, the casual nudity and sex only served to demystify themselves. It was no porno, the point of the film was not sex. Sex was merely one of the vehicles from point A to B. Good work. I'll have to raise my rating to commend the makers for the groundbreaking WAY they told the story. Many films have offensive plots that never make this much of an impact.

Now to my complaint about one of the film's plots: A badly written movie that reminded me of "Valet Girls" and "Angel" ('High school honor student by day, Hollywood hooker by night' not the Buffy spin-off) without their humor. The writing was on level with the porn movies made at the time. (Yes, the porn writing at that time was in it's heyday but it was still bad writing.) To focus on one of the most egregious part of the plot: Even listening to the director's commentary didn't help explain the whole ridiculous and insulting gay-subplot. Ah, so getting gang-raped by a bunch of guys late one night will make you gay the next day. (i wonder if that would work with lesbians?) So maybe sexually repressed heterosexual women could be helped by gang-rape? Once they get banged they'll realize that they like it, will become sexually liberated, and will show up at the rapist's house the next day for some snuggling as Eef did. A component of good writing is that, even if the revelation about a character is surprising, a viewer should be able to go back in the film and realize that it was foreseeable. In this movie there is nothing that Eef did that showed him to be gay any more than were his friends or the viewers. 1. the measurement scene: it wasn't his idea, it's not uncommon, and if that means he's gay, then his two friends are even more gay. 2. The gay-bashing scene: even if it was his idea, his friends and their girlfriends were at least if not more brutal than he was. 3. Failing to get erect for his girlfriend: as he said he was drunk, I'm sure this has affected most of the film's viewers at one time or another, and from the dialog it seemed as if it had never been a problem before. In fact the other couple also had a problem that prevented them from having sex. 4. Watching the gay sex scene: yes, he watched it briefly but immediately his idea was not to relieve himself sexually. Instead his immediate idea was to use it to make money to win the favor of the girl. If watching three seconds of that scene makes him gay it makes everyone of the viewers who watched it gay as well. 5. Does a twenty year old really living in Rotterdam in the 80s need to be reminded that homosexuality is an option? There is porn of every variety on every newsstand in that country. Legalized prostitutes have delineated districts. If he wanted to have gay sex he probably would have by this point.
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8/10
Can appreciate it 20 years later
xxlyyk28 November 2003
I first saw this movie on tv when I was 10 or something. It kind of grossed me out. Now I'm 28 and bought the movie. I guess in a way I'm still a kid, because it still grosses me out. It's a chilling account of how life will twist and turn and sometimes, not for any particular reason crushing people

The ending is a strangely happy one. With the looser of the three main characters ending up with the girl.
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8/10
It tells an utterly absorbing story.
Hey_Sweden27 July 2020
Three Dutch teenagers - Rien (Hans van Tongeren), Eef (Toon Agterberg), and Hans (Maarten Spanjer) - seek a way out of what they would consider a dead-end existence in their native land. They share a passion for motocross racing, and idolize reigning champion Gerrit Witkamp (special guest star Rutger Hauer). They will ultimately have to realize the difference between their dreams and reality, especially as an ambitious, sexy fast-food vendor (Renee Soutendijk) enters their lives and spends time with each of them.

What you get with this effort from leading Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven is a story complete with vignettes both funny and very, very serious. Anchoring the whole thing are a bunch of ingratiating performances from our leads, and another prominent Dutch export, actor Jeroen Krabbe, delivering a hoot of a performance as a sleazy TV announcer. One hilarious reveal involves what actually goes into the "delicacy" known as "Croquettes"; some of the heaviest drama involves Rien, who suffers a major setback and who just can't deal with it.

What the viewer notices in short order is how upfront and matter-of-fact Verhoeven is about human sexuality. He never shies from showing nudity (especially male nudity) or homosexual encounters. This has led to various reviewers labelling said footage as "shocking" - particularly in the unrated cut - but Verhoeven is still to be respected for being so straightforward about this sort of thing. He did, however, get excoriated by his people for including this sort of material in the first place.

But no review of this fine film should focus exclusively on this aspect. At no point do the characters in "Spetters" not feel like real people, complete with both assets and flaws. We do sympathize with the characters in the end, even Eef; although he hits upon a seedy way to make money, we can see that the young man is living in a state of denial about himself.

Wonderful performances all around, as well as some well-executed (but not frequent) motocross action scenes. This is proof to Verhoeven's versatility, moving from little character-driven dramas like this to over-the-top comic-book satire with "RoboCop" and "Starship Troopers".

Eight out of 10.
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9/10
courageous, explicit, fast moving and colourful but very hard hitting
christopher-underwood7 March 2020
Although I had seen Paul Verhoeven's first two films, Business is Business (Any Special Way) and Turkish Delight (Sensualist), the latter with a young Rutger Hauer, I had never seen this. Put off perhaps by the notorious male rape scene, or the film's length, the fact it featured several scenes of motocross or even the title. Actually, I discover that the title translates to splashes so perhaps a double meaning that doesn't quite work in English. In any event, now seen and very much appreciated, this coming of age (mainly in Rotterdam) film is courageous, explicit, fast moving and colourful but very hard hitting. Along its merry path of loves and races won and lost we encounter much violence; gang, individual and family based as well as some of the boldest yet non exploitative sexual moments seen on film. However dismissive and cool (yes, there is a nod to Saturday Night Fever - or is it a raised finger!) the characters here appear, they are so well drawn that we are able to discern the slightest nuance and take nothing for granted. Even the vaguely optimistic ending seems questionable and we are never rid of the deeply depressing element here of a society in flux as the 70s end and the big hair, big money 80s rushes in.
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8/10
super, b-film nl
witj26 June 2012
b-film.nl From b to a > UPDATE: Splashes uncut is super. Real dick, real story. Splashes on to 2 (which may be some of Johan Nijenhuis).

Brute commerce and an exploitation film without morality are cries that belong in the world of b-movie. B-movies (on this site, we use the broadest definition ..) are made ​​to throb, to shock and make money. In principle, not to lecture you. You have to love it. Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch star director after successes as Turkish Delight and Soldier of Orange. The cinemas were full and although reviewers always been critical opinions were never in the release of acid splashes.

The film was dismissed as b-movie that the columns in the quality press hardly worth it. Or Verhoeven and writer Gerard Soeteman really outraged - so they played it - we can ask them next Tuesday. Then she attended the presentation of the polished and extra scenes provided version of splashes. The negative buzz made ​​time for a lot of curiosity and at hatching were again filled the halls.

Whether that will happen with this reissue, remains to be seen. The 'commercial' and 'exploitation' are thirty years later and no less violent critic of the content will now worry. What is remarkable is that this new version is preserved by the prestigious Eye. Keepers of the Quality Film. What the film is still stripped of the title B-movie. There the authors undoubtedly chuckle about, and experts have splashes designated as a movie. For the lover there to "b-level 'is still much to enjoy. The title will remain welcome on this site.

JdW b-film.nl
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10/10
Better Than Saturday Night Fever
movieguy8100721 April 2006
This movie is about Motocrossing one of my favorite sports. I think this movie is better than Saturday Night Fever. This movie would never pass as an R rating in the United States. It would probably be rated NC-17. All of Paul Verhoeven's films except for Hollow Man were first rated X or NC-17. The music is great in this movie. I wonder if it is made by the same people who did the music for Turkish Delight. I will probably find out about it on IMDb. I have been with IMDb since 1996. They give the best information on movies better than any other site. Rutger Hauer has a cameo role in this. The only version of this I have seen is the Director's Cut. So I have never seen the cut version.
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Shocking...Just like Paul Verhoeven
tchelorod6 September 2002
It´s like the "Pulp Fiction" from the early 80s. We also see Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé before (American) fame. A Paul Verhoeven's film is direct, real, honest. Sex and violence are presents in our lives no matter how we try to hide. A lot of directors should learn from Verhoeven.
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8/10
This girl dreamt of a champion, she got a loser, but she was lucky for the first time!
ARSEN9 February 1999
Spetters is a movie about a girl who tried to leave his french fries and croquettes stand to find a good man who can take her around the world. The first one had an accident, the second one became gay, the third one was not really his best one, but he got the money and gave her the chance she wanted.

Even if this movie did not receive the appraisal it deserves, it's a good story about the life in a small provincial town, about the dreams of the young guys and girls, their wonderful dreams that become more realistic when they find their luck. Verhoeven is a neo-realist who can animate some rich characters. Reen the champion, Eve the son of a very strict father and very religious too, Hans the loser who will not succeed in motorcycle races, but will find his way. Fientje is ready to do anything to find a good man. She succeeds when she asks something for the others, but never for herself... until.. * * * * * * * Funny quote : Fientje : Life is a croquette, you would not like it if you knew what is inside. Reen : O.K. I like croquettes and I will continue to eat them.

Later in the movie we learn that Fientje made her croquettes with dog food! * * * * * * * * *

Spetters is not only about lost dreams, it's also about : - a motorcycle champion who is arrogant and who does not help the young people who would like to follow his steps; - religious fanatics, preachers and intolerance; - suicide; - a young who discovers he is gay; - tv reporters not really objective; - bikers (and also the violence of a leather crowd that was popular in the seventies in Netherland).

Verhoeven is as interesting as a Bosch's painting, you always find some details that catch your interest.

The finest picture : When Witkam, the motorcycle champion climb on the stand, after his victory, we see Reen turning his back to the champion on his wheelchair and going away, lost in a long alley and alone.
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