Black Book (2006)


Black Book – Paul Verhoeven

Zwartboek (original title)

Summary:  In nazi-occupied Netherlands, Rachel Stein (Carice van Houten) is forced to flee when the farmhouse she’s been hiding in is destroyed.  She tries to escape to Belgium but comes under fire in a planned Nazi ambush.  Rachel narrowly survives but still remains within occupied territory.   She creates a non-Jewish alias Ellis de Vries and bleaches her hair to go undetected, yet soon discovers a Dutch resistance group she becomes involved with.  Each risk she takes for the group grows greater and is then given the dangerous and ultimate task to seduce the SD commander Hauptsturmführer Ludwig Müntze (Sebastian Koch), which comes with its own perils she wasn’t expecting.

My Review:  Preparing myself for a heavy and traumatic World War II story, I was taken back at how forward leading lady Rachel Stein is in flirting, seducing and having no strings sex for a Jewish woman during the 1940’s.  Now that I’ve realised Carice van Houten is the same actress as Melisandre from Game of Thrones I might have expected more nudity and seducing.  Actually no, I take that back. I wouldn’t have expected it as this is a war film after all.  Don’t get me wrong, there is undoubtedly upsetting scenes in the Black Book film that doesn’t make light of the situation.  Yet the almost British slapstick style of how men might be easily manipulated by sex overtakes it’s seriousness.  Although I can see the utter determination in Carice’s character for survival, the fact she believes she can get out of most run-in’s with the Nazis with either a wink or a flash of her legs borders on comical.  A happy, go-lucky persona from a Jewish woman surely didn’t work on the SS that successfully.  Or perhaps it’s because of prudish Britishness (no sex in a serious war flick please).

My Rating: 2/5

Know a great Dutch film you can recommend me?  Please share it in the comments section below!

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