Customer Reviews


139 Reviews
5 star:
 (82)
4 star:
 (35)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Realized
Apart from being maticiously directed this film has a most significant value for me personally.
I am a holcaust survivor from Holland thanks to a dear Catholic family who kept me as one of their own children throughout 3 years during WW2.
Based upon true facts,this film managed to express,most vividly,the actual situation in Holland under the Nazi conquest...
Published on 24 Mar 2012 by Posh

versus
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining romp... but thoroughly unbelievable
Verhoeven declared he wanted to make a 'European' film after all his years in Hollywood but those years have marked him forever. This film might not be in English but it's American through and through (except for the sex, which would never get past the Yanks' prudery). In fact I don't understand why he didn't shoot it in English or at least make two versions, one for the...
Published on 23 Aug 2009 by Vauxhall1964


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Realized, 24 Mar 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Apart from being maticiously directed this film has a most significant value for me personally.
I am a holcaust survivor from Holland thanks to a dear Catholic family who kept me as one of their own children throughout 3 years during WW2.
Based upon true facts,this film managed to express,most vividly,the actual situation in Holland under the Nazi conquest during WW2.
I highly enjoyed to watch the HD copy I procured from Amazon (at a modeate price) on my new 42" LED screen!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful in just about every sense..., 8 May 2007
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
A movie which is both highly entertaining and thought provoking, Black Book is about the most Hollywood-like movie to ever come out of Europe. Paul Verhoeven returned to Holland after 20 years to make this epic (in Dutch and German for the most part) about the Dutch resistance in WW II.

Carice van Houten is magnificent in a role which I expect she will always be remembered. She can switch from whimsy to intensity, and passion to despair, and still hold your attention through the whole journey. It's a long journey too, about 2 and a half hours. And yet, the action, plot twists, and crucially the characters, keep you engaged throughout. Scratch that - not just engaged - on the edge of your seat. If there is a downside, it is that as so often with Paul Verhoeven's US output, with all the bright colours, frequent nudity and non stop action, we are almost voyeurs of the occupation, rather than growing to despise it.

The lush saturated colours and technical perfection are holdovers from the highly produced style Verhoeven perfected in America with Basic Instinct and Total Recall amongst others. And yet, while all the style and technical elements scream Hollywood, there is a European sensibility here when it comes to the story and characters. The characters are never ciphers but enter into real shades of grey. Sebastian Koch's Gestapo Chief Muentze is a delight - a Gestapo Chief who collects stamps, has a conscience.. and is perhaps even someone with whom the heroine can fall in love with.

There are underlying ideas here being explored - what would you be prepared to do? When is killing another person right.. is it still murder when it is the right thing to do? But rather than make this an issue movie which seriously and earnestly displays angst, this is an action romp with a compelling whodunit at its core.

This is therefore an exciting action thriller in Hollywood, style, but with some thought provoking ideas thrown in. Don't be put off by the foreign languages.. if you only see one Dutch movie this year, then this is the one!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping stuff!!, 22 May 2007
By 
Ian Roe "Woey" (Doncaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This has to be one of the best Non-English WWII action/drama films I have seen. The acting, costumes and special affects not to mention the overall ambience were excellent. Even though mainly in Dutch, German Hebrew and English were mixed in and I found myself understanding the conversations without constantly being glued to the subtitles.

The heroine shows such gutsy determination to endure and not give in to despair when all around is collapsing - without giving too much away; I was particularly impressed with the script for her lover towards the end of the movie - a German not making a 'cut and run' at wars end? a nice twist.

With so many twists and turns this should keep any war film buff happy for a couple of hours. Although the heroine is saved from many near death incidents (one or two a bit implausible) overall having rented this first I have since added it to my owned collection.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique perspective, 6 Feb 2008
By 
D. G. Reid "reebox" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
My wifes comments about this movie might strike a chord with some of you reading this review.

"Oh no, not a foreign language war film" as the opening scene reveals subtitles.

"Brilliant - have a look through the special features " she comments as the credits roll at the end.

There seems to be a common misconception that a foreign film with subtitles will fail to be entertaining.

'Black Book' is an excellent story and shows that in war time the lines drawn between friend and foe can become blurred. Its impossible to hate people you should hate if you experience the humanity within and its equally impossible to love those close to you when they betray your trust.

Well acted and directed and a refreshing viewpoint.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Blu-Ray yet, 6 Jan 2009
By 
M. A. Bennett (Wiltshire,England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent adult espionage thriller, and a showcase presentation in high definition. It looks superb with a sharp picture and boldly defined colours.

This (now deleted) u.k. Tartan release includes an extra disc - the original standard dvd version featuring 20+ mins interviews with director Paul Verhoeven and the stunning star of the movie Carice Van Houten.

However, the u.s. Blu-Ray version is equal in a/v quality and contains a full length director's commentary (but no interviews) and can be picked up for a fraction of the silly prices from these marketplace sellers!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, sophisticated WWII thriller, but perhaps to rent rather than buy, 9 Sep 2007
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
The Black Book tells the story of a Dutch Jewish girl, Rachel Stein, who works for the resistance in Nazi-occupied Holland during the final days of World War II.

The film starts and finishes on a Kibbutz in Israel in 1956. A tourist, Ronnie (Halina Reijn) who is visiting Israel with her Canadian husband who she met during the liberation of Holland, is delighted and surprised to recognise the heroine (Carice van Houten) who had been a friend during the war, teaching at the Kibbutz school.

After Ronnie and her husband have gone, van Houten's character begins to reminisce to the circumstances leading up to her first meeting with Ronnie, and the viewer follows her thoughts back to September 1944 when she was hiding from the Nazis under her real name of Rachel Stein.

Rachel was a former famous singer from a wealthy Jewish family, who went into hiding when the Germans over-ran Holland. A stray bomb wrecks Rachel's hiding place, but someone who appears to be working for the Resistance gives her the opportunity to flee. However, the group Rachel is travelling with are betrayed. Surviving by chance, she meets up with a different group of resistance workers and begins to work for them, dying her hair blonde and using the name Ellis de Vries. After several of her friends in the resistance are captured, Resistance cell leader Gerben Kuipers (Derek de Lint) asks Ellis what she would do to help them: he asks if she will seduce SS leader Ludwig Müntze (Sebastian Koch). At his HQ she meets Ronnie, who is working there as a genuine collaborator - or is she ?

From quite early in the film, the viewer begins to suspect that one or more characters who appears to be in the resistance or trying to help the jews are actually traitors working for the Germans. You also begin to wonder if the people in the Nazi HQ include more Allied agents who Kuipers' resistance cell don't know about. However, the twists and turns in the complex plot of the film keep you constantly wondering who is betraying whom.

Some of the nastiest scenes in the film come after the liberation, because just before the Allies arrive, the final revenge of one of the Nazis is to trick the resistance into thinking that Rachel/Ellis has betrayed them. The "Black Book" of the title contains the evidence which eventually shows who the real traitors were.

Most of the spoken words in the film are in Dutch or German, with subtitles, except towards the end of the film where the mostly Canadian liberation forces finally arrive. This is not a problem: I hardly noticed that I was picking up the meaning from the subtitles, nor the rapid fire switching of the dialogue between English and Dutch with subtitles towards the end (though I did notice that one or two people who were supposed to be Canadians had distinctly British accents.)

I can't make up my mind whether it was a good idea to bookend the film with the scenes on the Kibbutz in 1956. This tells you right at the beginning that Rachel/Ellis and Ronnie will survive, and removes an element of suspense, though I was still wondering "How on earth does she get out of this one" for most of the film.

There is also a shock ending to the final 1956 segment. This does not relate well to the main story of the book, and appears to have been added to remind the viewer, regardless of your view of the Arab-Israel dispute, that for those who were born Jewish, facing prejudice and conflict did not end with the defeat of the nazis.

There is an enormous amount of nudity in the film: both Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn have magnificent bodies and both display them quite a lot. However, the nudity is always in context, and that context is usually painful or humiliating - e.g. when Rachel has to pretend to enjoy showing her bare breasts to a nazi pig who organised the murder of people she loved - so the nudity appears to be mainly intended to make a point rather than to titillate.

There is also some excellent music, including four contemporary songs sung by Carice van Houten, as she also performed them as Rachel Stein in the film. Three of them are in German, one in English

There is very little humour in the film: there are a couple of light-hearted exchanges at the beginning before tragedy strikes, and later there are two variants on the ancient "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you pleased to see me?" joke. Generally it's a very serious and rather sad film.

Compared with the low standard of plausibility of war thrillers in general much of this film scored relatively highly for credibility and realism. There were inevitably a few things I found it hard to believe could happen, for example in some of the actions scenes with people blazing away at each other at point-blank range with sub-machine guns some of the good guys seem surprisingly lucky at dodging bullets. But most of the time it is not difficult to suspend disbelief in the story.

Some excellent acting, especially from Carise va Houton as the central figure. De Lint as the resistance leader, Sebastian Koch as a very complex Nazi figure, and Dolf de Vries as a notary who appears to be helping Jews escape also give particularly powerful performances. Waldemar Kobus plays the horrible Günther Franken, an SS captain who clearly takes a delight in murdering Jews and robbing them, and Thom Hoffman plays Hans Akkermans, a doctor working for the resistance.

Director and screenplay author Paul Verhoeven has said that

"In this movie, everything has a shade of grey. There are no people who are completely good and no people who are completely bad. It's like life."

I agree that this describes the vast majority of characters in the film, though there are one or two who do come over as pure evil, notably Gunther Franken and SS general Käutner, played by Chrisian Berkel.

Unless you like watching very sad films, this is probably one to rent rather than buy: I cannot imagine that I will want to watch it all that often. Most of the apparently sympathetic characters get killed, some of the rest turn out to be traitors, and overall the story is quite depressing. However, it is powerful, sexy, sophisticated, well made, and memorable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twists and Turns..., 24 Jun 2007
By 
Ms. R. Barnes (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a subtitled film, but this takes nothing away from the action and emotion of it.

The heroine- played by Carice Van Houten - is sexy and extremely talented, bringing this film up a level completely. She makes the film worth watching.

The plot is tightly wound and doesn't give up at any points, although a few more stereotypical moments.

It is a well produced piece of drama. Perhaps not the most factual war film on the market, but is certainly worth a watch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twist at every turn., 23 Jan 2007
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
I would like to congratulate Paul Verhoven on producing an excellent film.

There has been very few films produced showing the exploits of the Dutch

resistance during the second world war,especially when Holland had such a high Jewish population.To me this film bears tribute to these people who fought and died in the service of saving human life.It also demonstrates that in times of peril,one puts their lives in the trust of ones friends,and with the promise of riches one's friends can betray that trust.I suppose that's human nature.An excellent performance by all concerned,especially by Canice Van Houten,who is surely in line for bigger and better things.As the world enters into a period of unrest,it is essential that many people see this film as those who forget the past are deemed to relive it.An excellent script,brilliant special effects and wonderful acting all add up to make this an award winning film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WW2 resistance romp: enjoyable and meaningful, 31 July 2007
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a serious film is set in occupied Holland, right at the end of the Second World War when the Germman army / SS were keeping one eye on the advancing allies, and the occupied peoples were waiting desperately to be liberated.
The movie deals with many difficult aspects of a complex human situation; the death camps loom in the background; love, fear, sex, betrayal, attraction between enemies, forgiveness and the relentless demands of the need to survive.

It demonstrates how nothing is clear cut and how any situation can change or be presented from a different angle to harm or help someone.

So at one level it's a cracking espionage spy-thriller.
Yet there's plenty of insight into how people behave under stress, and how do you know who to trust?

This is not a film for children; for one thing there's nudity, sex and violence a-plenty, but in the main they'll probably be bored by the complexity of the plot.

It is a great evening's entertainment, and a film you may well want to watch again in future -- so definitely worth renting or buying if you appreciate repeat viewing.

If you enjoyed The Good German, then this is for you...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lively, graphic, and thought-provoking, 7 Aug 2011
By 
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
The plot of this film focuses on the fate of the Netherlands during WWII as seen through the experience of a Dutch Jewish woman who enters the Dutch resistance in late 1944 and ends up in a kibbutz in newly-created Israel.

There are some particularly graphic scenes, both in violence and eroticism, so that the movie might not be ideal for a younger audience.

Very good soundtrack and direction. Dialogues are in their original language - Dutch, German, English - so that the entire movie is subtitled.

The movie is interesting in the way it focuses on the Netherlands instead of France, Germany or the UK to give a nuanced study of individual and collective behaviours during WWII, the tension between Jewish, non-Jewish, and Communists in the resistance, the double game of some, the full collaboration of others, and the greed of many, in particular with the foolishness and arbitrariness filling the days which followed the Liberation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Black Book [2006] [DVD]
Black Book [2006] [DVD] by Paul Verhoeven (DVD - 2007)
£10.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews