March 11th, 2002. John R. takes the head of security and 17 others hostage in Amsterdam biggest skyscraper. John R. demands to speak with the Philips head of Sound&Vision. His goal is to ...
See full summary »
Four old college friends in their forties come together in a time of trouble and despair. Old joy relives, but the harsh reality of their problems can't satisfy them and eventually endangers their friendships.
Willem van de Sande Bakhuyzen
Gijs Scholten van Aschat
March 11th, 2002. John R. takes the head of security and 17 others hostage in Amsterdam biggest skyscraper. John R. demands to speak with the Philips head of Sound&Vision. His goal is to warn people about a large-scale fraud, aimed at brainwashing consumers by means of widescreen TV sets. In the film, we find out about John's preliminary frustrations, his bizarre encounter with Philips head of Sound&Vision Gerard Wesselinck, their impossible friendship, rivalry and John's armed attempt to force the executive to do penance in public.Written by
This simply is a great movie! I voted 9 out of 10. It shows that it's possible, even in the Netherlands, to make intelligent movies about actual topics or events. For ages the only themes in serious Dutch films were the Second World War and sex. Luckily this is changing now. For instance last year we saw the comedy "Shouf Shouf Habibi" about the problems of immigrants from Marocco in Holland, and the murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh made "05/ 06" about the murder of the politician Pim Fortuyn. "Off Screen" is also based on true events. Two years ago a confused man (a bus driver) took hostages in an office building because he wanted to speak to the top executive of Philips Electronics, about the introduction of widescreen television. He thought this was one big scam, and that the consumers were mislead, because in Holland there are hardly any broadcasts in the widescreen format. (In fact he was right of course!) It was a bit of a sad event, because just a few days before the Philips offices were moved to an adjourning office building. It ended with the confused man committing suicide. The film was made on a very small budged, but that's hardly visible. The film focuses on the life of the divorced bus driver. It shows the psychological process and the supposed encounters he had with the Philips executive that led to his actions. I say supposed encounters, because the best thing about the film is that it never becomes exactly clear what's real, and what's not. Did things really happen, or is it all just in the mind of the bus driver? In this aspect the film reminded me of films like "Swimming Pool" (Francois Ozon), "Als Twee Druppels Water" (Fons Rademakers), or even "Big Fish" (Tim Burton), "The Usual Suspects" (Brain Singer) and "Fight Club" (David Fincher). The two main actors are absolutely great! In their separate scenes, but also in their scenes together there is a real chemistry. The Belgian actor Jan Decleir (as the bus driver) is always good. Jeroen Krabbé (as the Philips executive) has made great movies, but also a few awful ones. Here he shows he still is a one of Holland's best actors. Let there be made more intriguing movies like this, and let there be less money wasted on big budget productions (to Dutch standards that is) like the recent turkey "Floris". And let Paul Verhoeven finally make the definitive and absolutely last Dutch movie about WW II, the long awaited "Zwartboek"!
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this