Absent from the directors chair for over half a decade, Paul Verhoeven returns to business with the engaging thriller Black Book
, and it finds him once again near the top of his game.
Leaving the disappointing Hollow Man firmly in the rear view mirror, and more in keeping with his original Dutch films than his infamous Hollywood output (Basic Instinct, Robocop, Starship Troopers and Showgirls all sit on his CV), Black Book is the story of a refugee by the name of Rachel Stein in the second World War, who embarks on a quest for revenge when her family are killed. Stein joins up with the Resistance, and is giving the mission of using her seductive charms to infiltrate the German Security Service, and the ingredients then fall into place for a labyrinthine thriller of some quality.
Black Book works for several reasons. Firstly, lead actress Carice von Houten is quite excellent, while the tight screenplay is happy to provoke questions and keep the complex plot in check. Verhoeven, too, directs well, occasionally relying a little too much on one or two of his conventions, but nonetheless delivering an engrossing piece of cinema.
For sure, Black Book isnt perfect, and there are films that treat the material with more gravitas than is on display here. But its still a strong, well-made thriller, and one that leaves you hoping its director wont be away for quite so long next time. --Jon Foster
September 1944 and Rachel Stein, a beautiful yet feisty Jewish chanteuse has fled Nazi Germany for the relative safety of the Netherlands. Hoping to be reunited with her family, she and many other refugees are ambushed by Nazis. Everyone, including her family, are killed. As sole survivor, Rachel manages to meet up with the Dutch Resistance and turn her into a double agent. She is assigned to seduce the senior officer Munze (Sebastian Koch) in order to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters. However, it soon becomes a dangerous game of double-dealing and betrayal, threatening her true identity and her life. This is unforgettable suspense from a director at the peak of his power.
- Interview with director Paul Verhoeven
- Interview with lead actor Carice Van Houten
- Theatrical Trailer
- Widescreen 2.35:1 1080p Resolution 24FPS
- Uncompressed Dolby Digital DTS-HS MA 5.1 / Dolby Digital 5.1 / Dolby Digital 2.0
- Languages - Dutch
- Subtitles - English
- Dual Layer BD50
- Region B