Sunday, July 27, 2008
Ian reviewed this ages ago, and everyone has been saying that it's a good film, so I recorded it off Film 4 months and months ago, and it's been sitting in the Sky Plus menu for all that time. Given the reception this film got when it was released, as if somehow the technically fine but resolutely shlocky Verhoeven had finally made a worthwhile film, I was concerned that it would be lacking the bonkers full-tilt Verhoeven approach, and that it would somehow be worthy and a bit boring.
Worthy yes. Boring, certainly not. Exciting espionage! Handsome resistance folks! Brave young women! Bad, bad, bad Nazis! Some good Nazis too! An absolutely amazing performance from the leading lady! Typical Verhoeven attitude to having people get their kit off!
One of the things I really loved about the film is the fact that the lead character, Rachel (or Ellis, to give her her alias), has to do a lot of unpleasant things in order to try to find out what has happened to her parents, who has betrayed them, and how to stay alive. This involves a lot of lying and sleeping with people she doesn't care about, which is par for the course for attractive ladies in films. It does, however, also involve other things, like running and shooting and hiding in rivers and other action things that blokes get to do in films. Also, at no point does it look as though the film itself is taking a prurient interest in her. This is simply what a gal had to do to get by in occupied countries, and there are worse things that could happen.
Both Carice van Houten and her co-star (and, I think, real-life partner) Sebastian Koch, are excellent in this movie, and I look forward to seeing them both in the biopic of South African poet Ingrid Jonker, which is, according to the IMDB, to be released some time this year.