During his 50th birthday party thrown by his wife, Remco's life takes a turn for the worse. His business partners are scheming behind his back to sell him out and his former mistress shows up pregnant.
Israel 1956. Rachel, a Jew, rather unexpectedly meets an old friend at the kibbutz where she is working as a teacher. It brings back memories of her experiences in The Netherlands during the war, memories of betrayal. September 1944. Rachel is in trouble when her hiding place is bombed by allied troops. She gets in contact with a man from the resistance and joins a group of Jews who are to be smuggled across the Biesbosch by boat to the freed South Netherlands. Germans from a patrol boat murder them all however. Only Rachel is able to escape. She is rescued by a resistance group under the leadership of Gerben Kuipers. When Kuipers' son is captured after trying to smuggle weapons, he asks Rachel to seduce SS-hauptsturmführer Ludwig Müntze. Soon she will find out the attack in the Biesbosch wasn't a coincidence.Written by
Arnoud Tiele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Matthias Schoenaerts, who played Joop, a member of the Dutch Resistance in this film, made a reference to RoboCop (1987) (another film directed by Paul Verhoeven), years later in the French film Rust and Bone (2012), when his character, Ali, nicknames Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) "RoboCop". In 2012 Schoenaerts was also considered by director José Padilha for the title role in the remake RoboCop (2014), but he dropped out because he thought he wasn't prepared for a big movie like that yet. See more »
In the scene where Rachel/Ellis is given insulin, the power socket behind her has a cable plugged in which disappears between shots. See more »
It took me about an hour after having seen the film to find any enthusiasm to write this review. The film Black Book, or Zwartboek in Dutch, is very impressive, with an excellent feeling for the complexity of inter-human relationships.
The story is about a Jewish girl that finds herself in a powerless situation in a war that tends to bring out the worst in all, 'good' or 'bad'. So much for what we know without seeing the film for ourselves. The film starts out rather typical, informing us with what we already new about the war: people where poor, hungry and trying to survive. However, the second part of the film shows a less well known part of Dutch resistance history: that the war brings out the worst in everybody. Without losing sight of the importance of the resistance against the foreign repression, Paul Verhoeven confuses his audience by visualizing how ones own well-being seems to go at the cost of the well-being of another. No black and white, no bad or good, but only the individual choice, that is tormented by the will to survive and a feeling for morality.
The film is daring for showing the dark side of the Dutch national history. However, the most valuable of the film is that it captivates its audience and sensitizes its audience for the misery of the historical event of World War II, but also the contemporary difficulties that affects human beings rather than countries. A must see, even though it makes you feel miserable.
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