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The Fourth Man [DVD]

Jeroen Krabbé , Renée Soutendijk , Paul Verhoeven    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Jeroen Krabbé, Renée Soutendijk, Thom Hoffman, Dolf de Vries, Geert de Jong
  • Directors: Paul Verhoeven
  • Writers: Gerard Reve, Gerard Soeteman
  • Producers: Rob Houwer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Dutch
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Feb 2003
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000083EGR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,494 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Only two years separate The Fourth Man, the final Dutch language movie by director Paul Verhoeven, and the explosive commencement of his Hollywood career. Controversy raged about violence in Flesh + Blood, RoboCop and everything else he made thereafter. Yet controversy has always been a part of the filmmaker's work. This savage comedy shocker could well be seen as a trial run for Basic Instinct, since it features an ice-cold seductress (Renee Soutendijk) with mysterious motivations and sexual preferences. The hallucinatory tale follows a novelist (Jeroen Krabbé) first falling for her, and then feverishly investigating whether she's a serial husband killer. The film is full of what would soon be recognised as Verhoeven trademarks: a little blasphemy, a lot of nudity, dispassionate characters and hidden agendas. One of the aspects that caught the eye of international audiences was the film's colourful lighting and camerawork. This was from Jan de Bont, who, thanks in large part to Verhoeven, would go on to direct Speed and others. Many prints of the movie were edited around the world, but it's presented here uncut. Full of symbolic flourishes and allegorical plot points, this is a dizzying display of the type of black comedy that not even Verhoeven can get away with in today's politically aware industry. --Paul Tonks

Product Description

Cult thriller from director Paul Verhoeven. Alcoholic novelist Gerard Reve (Jeroen Krabbé) meets seductive beautician Christine (Renee Soutendijk) at a lecture and the two begin a passionate affair. But he soon starts to have visions warning him against her, and becomes convinced that she has murder in mind. Are these suspicions justified or is he falling over the brink of madness?

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Well known for being something of a run-through for the infamous Basic Instinct (1992), The Fourth Man (1983) remains one of maverick director Paul Verhoeven's greatest works. Like Basic Instinct, The Fourth Man blends sex and death in a delicious cocktail of mystery, suspense and exaggerated imagery; telling a story of seduction and paranoia through the eyes and mind of an unreliable narrator. In this instance, Gerard Reve; an alcoholic writer of lurid pulp fiction, who in the film's subtle and darkly sardonic opening sequence, staggers out of bed, naked and hung-over, and - in a scene of quiet confusion and matter of fact precision - garrottes his homosexual lover to the point of asphyxiation. Right from the start, Verhoeven is skilfully introducing those aforementioned themes of sex and death, as well as establishing the air of incredibly dark humour, symbolism and that sense of blurring the lines between fact and fiction to near incomprehensible levels of uncertainty, all of which will permeate the film's very core.

Verhoeven has often claimed that the somewhat skewed, surreal and heavily atmospheric look and feel of the film was purposely stylised to an almost obvious degree in order to placate the high-brow Dutch film critics who had, at that particular time in his career, dismissed previous films such as Keetje Tippel (1975) and Spetters (1980) as lurid sensationalism. Whether or not this is the case is open to debate, but what most impresses here is Verhoeven's energy and skill in presenting such a taut and labyrinthine thriller that seems to draw as much on the surreal and coolly evocative psychodrama of a filmmaker like Ingmar Bergman as it does on the twisted world of Alfred Hitchcock.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dutch Delerium Tremens...... 2 May 2003
By "razic"
Jeron Krabbe is without one of the most underatted actors ever. Want proof? 'The Fourth Man'. I would also say that Paul Verhoeven is also underated to, sadly because most people will only have seen his Hollywood films. But twenty years ago he made his last Dutch language film and (in my opinion) his best film. The Fourth Man could be seen as a blueprint for Basic Instinct in some ways but this is far, far better in all ways.
Jeron Krabbe plays an alchoholic, homosexual writer giving a talk for a book society when he becomes entagled in the web of Christine (the societies treasurer) which brings about some bizarre violent a sexual religious visions, the mystery of Christine's three dead husbands and his lusting for her good-looking but sexually inadequate boyfriend. Shocking, hilarious. and not a dull moment in entire 99mins. Black comedy as it's best, and a brilliant performances abound. A must see!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verhoeven's Groundbreaking Film 8 Mar 2003
Previously dismissed as a soft porn filmmaker in Europe, Verhoeven decided to make a film so overloaded with symbolism and foreshadowing that the gullible critics would call it "high art". And they did.
The plot is simple but fun, including all Verhoeven's specialties - sex, frontal nudity, explicit gore (castration-ouch!), etc. When the main character (a drunken poor writer) is determined to meet a young man he cruised at a magazine shop, he also discovers the woman who helped organize his book readings is dating the youngster. He's off and manages to get both in the sack. One example of symbolic overkill: The writer discovers three black film canisters in her house revealing the "accidental" deaths of her three previous husbands. Later, after he gets the young man to have sex in a mausoleum, he spots three black urn canisters containing the woman's three prior husband's ashes! Now come on! I won't even get into the 'Virgin Mary' sightings!
However, despite the overload on ALL levels, it makes for a great art-house film and one you'll watch over and over. (If your eyeball doesn't get poked out - movie hint - more symbolism).
This film enabled Verhoeven to proceed to make such classics as "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls". Trivia: Main actor Jeroen Kraabe was the evil doctor who framed Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive". Best extra is the inclusion of Verhoeven's director's commentary. He is one clever personality!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verhoeven's answer to his critics 13 April 2005
Verhoeven's Fourth Man was apparently his answer to those carping Dutch critics who had been so offended by the casual working class realism and frankness he familiarised in Turkish Delight, Business is Business & etc. Gone is the simple story line, the concern with contemporary issues, 'offensive' humour and the prominence of working girls as characters. Instead Verhoeven and his scriptwriter have substituted a hot house of religious imagery, 'literary' associations, obscure motivations and a deliberately overwrought atmosphere, guaranteed to please those who value an 'art house' ideal over the rougher (and ultimately more sincere) product the director had been making. Perhaps surprisingly, it is a largely successful concoction, and pleased both audiences and the critics. The joke is still a joke, but it is all so well done, and carried off with such dark glee and verve, that Verhoeven's private fun in his task becomes public. The result is a favourite amongst his films.
Having dished out his creative rebuke to the conservative arbiters of Dutch film taste, it wasn't long before the frustrated director was lured off to Hollywood. Here he achieved a more perfect - and sincere - synthesis of vision, style, and message in the more familiar films that have confirmed his reputation.
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