Black Book
The story is set during the final days of World War II in Holland, and follows a Jewish singer named Rachel Stein (Carice Van Houten). Rachel attempts to avoid the Nazis and remains in quiet hiding until her family is brutally slain, causing her to join up with a resistance movement. On a subsequent undercover mission, Rachel crosses paths with a smitten German general named Ludwig Muntze (Sebastian Koch), with whom Rachel begins a relationship in order to feed vital information back to her colleagues in the resistance. But as the action and bloodshed escalate, Rachel realizes that she has genuine feelings for Muntze, and soon she is in enormous danger.

Director Paul Verhoeven(Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instict, Starship Troopers) and screenwriter Gerard Soeteman got the idea for the movie while doing research for Soldaat van Oranje (1977). Instead of simply working the controversies surrounding the Dutch Resistance into the already top-heavy screenplay of Soldaat van Oranje, they decided to make a separate movie out of it. Verhoeven and Soeteman wrote the screenplay over a period of almost 20 years, and they finally solved many script problems by making the main character a woman.

Fortunately, the movies strength lies in it's leading female actor,Carice Van Houten(next bond girl), and the willingness of a director to push the limits to get his vision across. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this extremely violent and sexual WW2 adventure. Some amazing action fused with excellent story telling, along with classic acting paves a smooth road for the long run time.

The journey Houten takes you on is one of raw emotions and extreme circumstances. You become completely lost in the bloody world painted and luckily are not able to compare the film to every any other WWII film. My biggest concern sitting down was that Black Book would look, taste, and smell the same as every other. But Paul's fascist world is one of a different shade of Nazi black and blood.

My only complaint would be in the ending. Throughout the whole movie it seems the filmmaker prides himself in not holding back on violence and sex...but here we are pushing the two and a half hour mark and the director stops the film short of possibly one of the most intense, creepy, and uncomfortable scenes I would have seen in a long time. HINT: Burial alive.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who is tired of the same old same old and has a liking to this period of world history.

It's beautifully ambitious, well acted, and worth ALMOST every second of its 2.5 hours of life.
Reviewed by: shea