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.
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.