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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique perspective
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...
Published on 6 Feb 2008 by D. G. Reid

versus
12 of 15 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


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19 of 20 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
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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.
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52 of 56 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!
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59 of 64 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
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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.
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4 of 4 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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideology of religion with passionate intent, 4 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: Black Book [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
After witnessing an emotional massacre, Jewish lady Rachel Stein (Houten) joins the resistance to infiltrate the German headquarters but struggles with feelings for their leader

This controversial depiction of the Second World War brings together meanings of religion, sexism, and betrayal, all to which amount to a film flowing with issues that make a mouth watering prospect of a drama.

Whilst there have been numerous films portraying the events of the Second World War, the more popular ones being Schindler's list and Saving Private Ryan, this has an edge of feeling less glorified, more of a cult smash depicting the difficulties of the Jews in their fight against the overruling Germans. Including a love story may seem like Hollywood styling but this gives the film a gritty edge that has a wonderfully dramatic finale that goes to show mixing Hollywood with Indie can work.

Beginning in the future we see a reasonable good long shot of Rachel sat on a beach as she goes back in time, recalling her events in the war.

We are then taken back to war time as Rachel, living undercover finds herself being exposed and is soon lining up her options to make an attempt. Then after a warm reunion with her family there is a tragedy on a night boat and this is exceptionally dramatic and sets the tone for further drama to progress.

As Rachel reinvents herself with the Resistance the plot moves forward as she tries to help infiltrate the plans of the enemies but is left confused by her feelings towards their leader.

If we look at the time this was set and the way everything worked you can forgive the awkward eye lusting moments and focus on the degrading nature to which the men treated the women and how this ultimately affected the balance of this story. The cruel sexual acts and the disrespectful approaches made by the German soldiers would earn them a one way ticket to prison these days and this reflection is certainly controversial but bravely unashamed to tell it as it is.

With this picture we see surprisingly little war imagery and are shown demonstrations of religious acts and how people felt about Jews. These religious concepts are put to the ultimate limit with passionate actions being taken against them, such as shootings, slavery amongst others.

Whilst this picture has enough religious iconography to get its point across there isn't as much tempo to grab you in the way that's required. I often found my attention wondering as situations started repeating themselves and the obvious attraction did borderline on soppiness. Not to mention there are so many main characters with their own agendas you can lose your bearings.

Nevertheless this has a point and is worth a watch.

7/10
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History Realized, 24 Mar 2012
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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!
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3 of 3 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.
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10 of 11 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
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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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film worth twice the price - but don't tell Amazon!, 7 Dec 2009
By 
Nigel Mc (The Chilterns) - See all my reviews
I had seen this fabulous film on television but was determined to purchase the Blu-ray version. I have to admit to baulking at the high cost of the film. I am normally quite content to bide my time and make my purchases when the price reduces to a more acceptable level. However, price reduction doesn't seem to happen with this film and in the end I just bit the bullet. Despite the slightly different front covers AFAIAA this version is the same as the US version which is region free. I watched it last night intending just to cherry pick selected scenes and to sample the video quality. From the opening scenes I was completely sucked into the film, despite having seen it before. The story and acting is just so, so good! This combined with a fabulous video quality. The colours and the blacks in particular are simply outstanding - reference quality!

The storyline twists and turns and there is interest and excitment throughout the two and a half hours. There are no dull moments. Carice Van Houten is wonderfully convincing throughout and I am just so surprised that you don't see more of her. Sebastian Koch puts in another compelling performance on a par with his acting in 'The Lives of Others'. In fact it is rather unfair to single out these 2 lead stars because all the actors are good. There are no weak links.

The film has received some criticism for its simplification of the treatment of Jews and for introducing ambiguities by the 'Hollywood' treatment of a vitally important part of history. I disagree. I think that there is a need to put matters in context. Surely, the film is primarily made to entertain people rather than to produce an absolutely accurate, impartial documentary? I think that the main thrust of the story is credible and it is obviously true to say that there must have been 'good' Germans in the same way as there must have been some 'bad' people in the resistance. Similarly, there were obviously some people who collaborated with the enemy. I think that the film seeks to show these realities of life in a legitimate way albeit that the principle motive is to entertain rather than to present a historically accurate documentary.

There are many scenes which stand out and will be hard to erase from my mind. The treatment of the 'collaborators' is a stark reminder of the fraility of humanity. The decision to allow the Germans to execute one of their own officers following their surrender. Did situations like this actually happen? I have yet to watch the 'extras' to see if they throw any light on the matter.

If you are hesitating whether or not to buy - don't! The film would be worth twice the price - but don't tell Amazon!
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7 of 8 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
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME 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...
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Black Book [Blu-ray] [2007] [US Import]
Black Book [Blu-ray] [2007] [US Import] by Paul Verhoeven (Blu-ray - 2007)
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