April 24, 2008

Black Book (Zwartboek) (2006)

Verhoeven's latest is a Nazi sex romp set in the Netherlands. I guess it's the natural progression for someone with things like Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers in his repertoire. The fact that Carice van Houten looks like a Dutch version of Christina Aguilera and Verhoeven puts her through all sorts of crazy adventures (like hooking up with random dude on a boat while being bombarded by Nazi planes) only makes it so much better. And then all the psychological drama from the dichotomy of her Jewish family being killed before her eyes and her falling for the local SS commander was a nice touch as well. Considering the fact that cinema is pretty well saturated with WWII stuff, it's refreshing to see something that can still keep you interested despite the subject matter. Sometimes it seems like the cheery van Houten carelessly prances around in revealing dresses and seductive smiles among the various bombs and underground resistance fighters like occupied Holland is her own little private playground. This is not to say that Black Book is perfect, but I think it might be caught in an unfortunate period in time where WWII movies just don't work anymore. Maybe when people look at Verhoeven's work as a whole later on in history, it will be better appreciated. For now, this is just a nice little fun and sexy Nazi Germany WWII flick which is a good refresher from the usual big action high drama stuff that trickles out of Hollywood or HBO.