Miles on Movies

Black Book
(or Zwartzboek)


reviewed by R. Miles Mendenhall

OK, let’s see. You’re a beautiful young Dutch Jewess (Carice Van Houten)
stranded in Nazi occupied Holland. To survive you join the Resistance and
are eventually assigned to seduce the head of the Gestapo in Amsterdam
(Sebastian Koch, “The Lives Of Others”). He turns out to be a nice guy, sort
of, and some of your comrades in arms aren’t so nice. You do what you have
to do to survive.

There are daring escapes, and near escapes, and all the other tactics of an
underground resistance movement.

Who do you trust? How do you know whom to trust? What about mixed
allegiances and criminal schemes? What if you’re captured and tortured, as
is happening to many of your comrades. Life can get very, very complicated
and can end abruptly.

Based on a true story, directed by Paul Verhoeven finally back with a great
epic. (“Soldier of Orange”, “Flesh and Blood”, “Robocop”, “Total Recall”,
“Basic Instinct”, “The Hitchhiker”, “Starship Troopers”)

This is a long and complex film, but it is well worth it. You think things
have been resolved, but no, there’s more and it gets even more intense and

Aside from the action, this is a meditation on the themes of friendship,
betrayal and revenge.

By far the best film in this series that I’m finally writing about.

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