After both signing an agreement with a company that offers to end their lives when they least expect it, a dejected millionaire and a disheartened young woman fall in love and have to find a way to get out of their binding contracts.
A slaughterhouse worker appears to be romantically involved with his boss's wife. They plan to leave the country together, but at the airport she waits for him in vain. Slowly but surely ... See full summary »
Mike van Diem
Maeve van der Steen,
Coen van Vrijberghe de Coningh
Brasserie Valentine is a stylish, funny film about love. About first dates, falling in love and love anniversaries. About love under pressure of daily grind and distrust. And lovingly prepared food. All in one evening on Valentine's Day.
Egbert Jan Weeber,
An eccentric multimillionaire signs an agreement to have his life ended. While selecting his coffin he meets a young woman who has signed up for the same arrangement. Trouble ensues when the couple falls in love and wishes to get out of the contract.Written by
Idiosyncratic, dark, Wes-ish return to form by Van Diem
"De Surprise" marks the long-awaited return of Mike van Diem (of 1997 "Karakter" acclaim). I had no idea what to expect, but wasn't disappointed: it's a clever, self-written, self-produced dark comedy, that surprises with its off-kilter locations, developments and characters.
Starting with a funeral and quickly progressing to boy-meets-girl, the setup is of the well-traveled romcom variety, but the story heads for loftier territories after this and keeps us engaged throughout. Van Koningsbrugge and Verbaan acquit themselves well in parts that require a more understated, highbrow approach than their usual brand of comedy, and - essential for this genre - I rooted for them all the way through.
What kind of bugs me, though: the main characters in "De Surprise" exhibit a Wes Anderson-ish formal approach to emotions, which, combined with a distinct Wes Anderson-ish quirky world view, setting and storyline, almost made me feel like I was watching a WA-movie, only one without Wes' exceptional talents for art direction and editing.
This is not to say "De Surprise" lacks originality: but the day after, it did impress me more as a tight exercise in style than a profound exercise in storytelling - quite unlike the superior "Karakter". It does re-establish Van Diem as an independent, original filmmaker, and here's hoping he'll stick to cinema the upcoming decade.
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