You know itís a Paul Verhoeven movie about an hour into it. Thatís when the full frontal nudity first appears. This directorís signature is tits and crotch shots and no film of his would be complete without one.
Some of his other hallmarks are here too including the excessiveness he brings to his work. However, youíd be surprised that there is also an intriguing tale underneath his T & A and bombast. He has told intriguing tales before but they usually get lost in all that. Here it survives, maybe even in spite of him.
Black Book is the tale of a Dutch Jewish woman who struggles to survive in Nazi occupied Netherlands. She goes to great lengths as part of the resistance and because this is a Verhoeven film it usually involves sleeping with the enemy. The film tells of the horrors faced under the Nazis as well as after the liberation after all trust has been destroyed. There is an appropriate intensity to this tale of true human horror. Itís a complicated tale which shows how the war ruined people of all backgrounds and the things they had to do survive.
Itís quite riveting. Sure it feels pretty frontloaded sometimes but the story is engaging. Mostly Verhoeven letís the story tell itself and itís a good one although certainly discouraging. Like any chronicle of the terrible things we do to each other, itís also a tale of the strength it takes to survive.
Black Book is the best thing Verhoeven has done in a long while and itís worth checking out.