Director Westdijk is probably the most talented filmmaker in the Netherlands. However, since his very good debut 'zusje'(over ten years ago) he hasn't really delivered anything worthwhile. 'Siberia' was an OK follow-up, visually, but the story was somewhat disappointing. The same goes for 'Phileine zegt sorry'.
Now with his latest picture, Westdijk is supposed to deliver some kind of magnum opus. He has worked on the film for over 11 years, mainly perfecting the script.
'Het echte leven' is a film in a film. Character developments of crew-members slowly start to merge with those of the characters in the film they are making. This type of storytelling is like tight-rope walking, but Westdijk pulls it off.
The leading lady, Sallie Harmsen is incredible. As with 'zusje'(which featured the debut of Kim van Kooten) Westdijk proves he has a talent for scouting talent. And, of course, a talent for directing actors. Ramsey Nasr is also very good in his role as the director/leading actor.
It is he who stimulates the merging of real-life and fictitious character-development, but it affects himself as well.
The story develops smoothly and the movie is overall very enjoyable, visually near perfect. But I have to say that it doesn't leave a very big impression. We're supposed to be affected (I guess) by the emotional distress the leading actors end up in. But that just doesn't happen. Pity.
Still, it's a pretty good movie, the kind you will want to watch more than once. I will kindly leave the option open that it may grow on you when you will.
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