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Psychological thriller. For a manipulative childhood friend, a geographer smuggles a suitcase of heroin to an Asian city. The woman he hands the smuggled goods to says, just like him, not to have any experience in the drugs trade. How did these people come to this?Written by
The quality of De Grot is above average: you won't get bored, the development of the characters is consistent, the acting is good.
Even the children act good. It looks good, the sound is good, the editing is good.
Nevertheless, I have the feeling that there is one recurring flaw in Koolhoven's work, also in AmnesiA, the film he made just before this one. Too often scenes, dialogues, settings are too explanatory. If there is something we should not miss as an audience it is pushed in our face or said explicitly. A quote from De Grot: "At the time, you chose me as a friend merely to have someone look up to you". As if we couldn't see that ourselves! Or if we didn't notice, leave it unsaid, we will get it in some way or another anyway. Or a woman that says to her man out of the blue "what do you think about our relationship?" is way too explicit to demonstrate that something is wrong between them. I prefer to have a wealth of little subtle suggestions I may or may not pick up, it might work unconsciously. Never do I have the feeling that there is much of that in his work. Even Hollywood action movies assume more movie literacy.
With nudity he is too explicit also. I have had long discussions with Martin on this in the newsgroup nl.kunst.film but he is convinced that he can show whatever he feels like. I disagree strongly, only show if it is needed, and often the nudity in his films is not.
Pointless nudity in films also happens to be a persistent and decades old cliché about Dutch films, Martin apparently has no intention to restrain himself either.
Lastly, I have one objection to the oeuvre of Koolhoven so far.
Although he visually certainly has a unique signature in his work, thematically it remains quite superficial. In spite of his love for authors cinema and the freedom he has had so far to make author films, he does not seem ready (yet?) to reveal thematic concerns in his work. Perhaps I expect too much, but perhaps he dares not to make himself vulnerable yet, although he should. My compliments for style and craftsmanship, but without some more soul in his work it will never become the work of a genius. But he should be given all the means to make a larger oeuvre and might get to that one day.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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