Blu-ray Black Book [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 1137769),
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Black Book [Blu-ray]
Region 1 USA/CA (
Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven made his name in Hollywood with films such as ROBOCOP, BASIC INSTINCT, and STARSHIP TROOPERS. But Verhoeven got his start in the industry by making films (the acclaimed SPETTERS and SOLDIER OF ORANGE among them) in his native country, and it's to Holland that he returns for BLACK BOOK--his first Dutch film in 20 years. 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.
Verhoeven's film is wildly ambitious and takes many intriguing twists and turns during its 145 minutes. BLACK BOOK commanded the largest budget of any film to be produced in Holland, and it shows. Explosions litter the screen, plenty of car chases ensue, and wince-inducing injuries and deaths propel the action. The director isn't afraid to criticize his fellow countrymen and inserts a fascinating subtext about the actions of the resistance fighters, asking some uncomfortable questions about the similarities between their behavior and that of the Nazis. Van Houten lights up the screen throughout and is surely destined for bigger things, and while the tumultuous experiences her character undergoes might push the boundaries of reality at times, Verhoeven has pointed out in interviews that Rachel is a composite character who encompasses the merged experiences of many real people from the era.
- for some strong violence, graphic nudity, sexuality and language.
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 21488
Carice Van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Derek De Lint, Halina Reijn, Christian Berkel, Michiel Huisman, Peter Blok
"The expensive and expansive BLACK BOOK looks gorgeous, and there's no denying Verhoeven's genuine filmmaking talent..."
4 stars out of 5 -- "BLACK BOOK is brisk, frisky and glossed with a fine Hollywood sheen..."
4 stars out of 5 -- "For all its feisty sense of fun, BLACK BOOK is too dark and smart to let its characters fade out into a soft-focus happy-ever-after."
"[I]t is a fast-paced, action-packed ride through resistance and betrayal, with spectacular exploits, steamy sex scenes and more plot twists than can be counted."
Sight and Sound
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his tremendously exciting film can suddenly, unpredictably move you to tears."
4 stars out of 4 -- "BLACK BOOK is Verhoeven's best film since ROBOCOP: audacious, smart, shamelessly entertaining."
"BLACK BOOK remains riveting from start to finish, confirming that nail-biting suspense transcends national boundaries. This is a thriller that truly thrills."
Movieline's Hollywood Life
3 stars out of 5 -- "Van Houten is superb as the chameleonic Stein, constantly adapting to her environment to survive and yet always maintaining an unbreakable, virtuous spirit..."
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Carice Van Houten
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