Dode Hoek (Blind Spot) is the story of Jan Verbeeck, the uncompromising commissioner of the Antwerp drug squad. Known as Mr. Zero Tolerance, he is hugely popular with the people and the ...
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Desperate to return home from a state visit to Istanbul when his country suffers its worst-ever political crisis, but unable to fly due to a solar storm, the King of the Belgians finds himself on a tumultuous road trip across the Balkans.
Peter Van den Begin,
Titus De Voogdt
The once unconditional friendship between police officers Vincke and Verstuyft hits a very rough patch when they come up against a series of gruesome murders. Complicating matters even ... See full summary »
Koen De Bouw,
Werner De Smedt,
Dode Hoek (Blind Spot) is the story of Jan Verbeeck, the uncompromising commissioner of the Antwerp drug squad. Known as Mr. Zero Tolerance, he is hugely popular with the people and the media. The country is thrown into commotion when he announces that he is leaving the police force just before the elections to join the extreme right party, VPV. On his last day as a policeman, he leads an investigation that takes him to Charleroi where a raid on a drug lab sets in motion a series of unforeseeable and fatal events.
I decided to give this film a watch simply because that was my chance to find out what modern Belgian cinema is like. As it turns out, it's pretty dark and gritty, with a lot of depressive undertones and a heavy social message. It could've been a great thriller, and the first part of the film indeed is, with you wondering what's going on and what all those little details will lead to. The acting is pretty decent too, with Peter Van den Begin being especially good as a big police official making a switch to politics to push his strict anti-immigrant agenda on a higher level.
But what was Jan Verbeeck's virtue is the film's flaw. That is, being forthright to the point of bluntness. The "immigrants are a threat, and we want you to give up your civil rights for us to fight that plague" message had no second layer at all, and we sense from the start that the party pushing that message is the devil himself. Dode Hoek never even tries to delve further into this boil of societal frustration and show the other side of the story. Instead, it goes with displaying erratic and illogical behavior of the protagonist, at the same time trying to show his "humane" side, apparently in an attempt to make the character more sympathetic and relatable at the expense of the story's consistency. That makes the "sudden" plot twist at the finale almost inevitable, but hardly any logical.
Apparently the immigration crisis is really the most burning topic of the European life of late, and the film artists can't just sit and ignore it. But, judging by this film, the cinema - and maybe the society as a whole - has yet to learn the language in which it could talk about it openly, without both self-censorship and hysteria. If that had been the real point of Dode Hoek - to show all the confusion and perplexity of those torn between the mandatory political correctness and the frustration of not feeling comfortable about the current state of affairs - then this might have been a really visionary film. Unfortunately, it prefers the heavy punches of black and white instead, exactly like its main character. Well, look where such approach has led him...
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