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Black Book


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Product Details

  • Actors: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus
  • Directors: Paul Verhoeven
  • Writers: Paul Verhoeven, Gerard Soeteman
  • Producers: Adrian Politowski, Andreas Grosch, Andreas Schmid, Charlie Woebcken, Frans van Gestel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Dutch (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TGCR38
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,649 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Black Book" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Director Paul Verhoeven
  • Making of Black Book

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the darkest days of World War II, Jewish fugitives attempt to escape occupied Holland -- only to face a Nazi ambush. Rachel Stein (Carice van Houten) alone survives the attack and joins the Dutch Resistance to avenge her family. She soon confronts the ultimate test: she must infiltrate German headquarters by tempting Captain Ludwig Mÿntze (Sebastian Hoch). In the heat of passion, he uncovers her duplicity...but keeps her secret. Then Rachel's espionage reveals that a murderous traitor lurks within Resistance ranks. Unable to fully trust anyone, Rachel navigates a minefield of deception and becomes an enemy to both sides. Epic, passionate, breathtaking, Black Book relates an untold story of World War II where the distinctions between good and evil become blurred by the complexities of human nature.

Amazon.com

As in Basic Instinct, a lovely lady takes the lead in Black Book, but this time Paul Verhoeven has more than cheap thrills in mind. Towards the end of WWII, Rachel Stein (the vibrant Carice von Houten), a Jewish singer, is living with a gentile family in the countryside. When Allied forces bomb the area, she's forced to flee. On her perilous journey to The Hague (Verhoeven's hometown), brunette Rachel joins the Resistance and changes her identity to blonde Ellis de Vries. Her next order of business: infiltrate Gestapo headquarters. Like many Verhoeven heroines, Rachel aces her assignment--and then some. First, she seduces the handsome Captain Müntze (Sebastian Koch, The Lives of Others), then she falls in love with him. Müntze, who returns her affection, isn't what he appears to be, but their relationship puts both at great risk. At this point, the filmmaker expertly kicks the proceedings into high gear, before concluding on a bittersweet note. Naturally, since this is a Verhoeven picture, there's plenty of wry humor and uninhibited sexuality along the way. Starting with 1985's Flesh + Blood, the Dutch director released an American movie every two to three years. After the poorly received Hollow Man, however, Verhoeven took a six-year break. Black Book, a return to his native Holland, was worth the wait. (He began work on the screenplay in the 1980s.) It works triple-time as a thriller, a tribute to Holland's Jewish population, and a poison pen letter to the Dutch opportunists who would attempt to sell them out. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

The acting is great, the story is good, and shot very well.
Dr. Who, What, Where?
This film was a gripping, sensitive drama filled with romance, mystery, unexpected twists and all set in the historical setting of WWII.
Traveler
It's the little things like that Verhoeven tweaked that turn this from an otherwise decent movie into a really good one.
Robert Beveridge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

217 of 234 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Ravenscroft on September 27, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As many here have said, this is a beautifully shot, gripping, unforgettable movie, a great addition to the honorable genre of WWII flicks. In fact, the father of one of my colleagues, Dutch himself and in his 70s, said this was the best film he has ever seen. So I don't understand why, if a man in his 70s who is from the WWII generation himself did not find this film "prurient," so many reviewers have insisted that it is. The scene that most of the prudes seem to find gratuitous is (spoiler alert) the scene in which the Jewish heroine prepares herself to pass as a blonde bombshell so she can seduce the German officer. Clearly, she is going to have to dye or shave hair other than the hair on her head in order to pass as a natural blond. The movie shows her doing this. Why is it not gratuitous? Because the scene sets up the love triangle that will result in the conflict in the last third of the movie. It is absolutely essential to the advancement of the plot, and in my opinion, any reviewer who can't see that is not only a fussy old woman, but also not much of a reviewer. So if you have not seen this movie because you've read a review that trashes it on the grounds of prurience, please reconsider. And consider this: the most recent Ang Lee movie is so sexually frank that it got an NC-17 rating, yet there hasn't been a single review which has trashed it on the basis of its gratuitous sex. That says to me that some major reviewers are only interested in criticizing Paul Verhoeven rather than commenting honestly on his film. Another reason to see this movie is Carice Van Houten. She not only convincingly plays a 40's bombshell, she has that same 40s movie-star quality that you can't take your eyes off of. Truly, you could watch this film 100 times and never get tired of her. She is irresistible.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2007
Format: DVD
One of my special interests is WW II history, especially the Nazi era, and I have watched many fact-based movies dealing with the theme. Black Book is a first-rate thriller that depicts the trials and tribulations of a young Jewish woman in Nazi-occupied Holland. Rachel Stein the lead character is played consummately by the beguiling Carice Van Houten whose facial expressions do a lot more to convey fear, vulnerability, hatred and determination than mere dialogue alone. To ensure her continued survival and escape from certain death that awaits the Jewish populace, Rachel, having suffered the loss of her brother and parents, takes on the guise of an Aryan, Ellis de Vries, and is roped by the Resistance to seduce Ludwig Muntze [Sebastian Koch] a Gestapo officer and steal Nazi secrets.

The actors in this movie are well-cast - even the Gestapo officer, whose very title should inspire revulsion is portrayed with a certain sensitivity, and he shows a semblance of humanity, a rare trait for an officer of the Reich. Even knowing Rachel's true Jewish identity, he falls hopelessly in love with her, and this is portrayed with a level of credibility given the contradictions inherent in such a pairing.

The action is fast-paced, there is much violence, and yes, even explicit sex, but through it all, nothing detracts from the plot, only serves to enhance the story, and makes this a gripping, must-see WW II thriller.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on July 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Director Paul Verhoeven stunned the film world with his World War II masterpiece "Soldier of Orange"...and in a sense, this film is a second
installment of his story of the Dutch Resistance. In the earlier film it was easier to distinguish the evil from the good...here characters are edgier and perhaps darker.

The story begins when a young, pretty Jewish woman tries to flee to Belgium from Nazi occupied Holland but her family is betrayed, massacred and robbed along with other Jewish families. After a nail-biting escape,
Rachel (Carice Van Houten), joins the Resistance and agrees to infiltrate the Gestapo headquarters. Surprisingly, she becomes attached to one of the officers, and the tale begins a spin into betrayal and counterbetrayal...so that enemies and friends are very hard to distinguish.

There is a lot of old-fashioned World War II suspense and action that
rolls the story along. But ultimately, this is a film about how hard it is to identify villains and heroes, when everyone is wearing a mask...including Rachel,of course - who is hiding her Jewish identity.

Overall, the film sizzles more than Soldier of Orange, but the original World War II film is still the better steak. Recommended for the high octane action, interesting plot twists, and solid historical detail.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Wedekind VINE VOICE on September 28, 2007
Format: DVD
I think the best reason to view this movie is to watch Carice van Houten as she plays the part of Rachel Stein, a Dutch Jew trying to stay alive during the Nazi occupation of Holland in 1944. Rachel is forced to assume a different identity as Ellis de Vries ( recruited by the Dutch Resistance following the betrayal and deaths of her parents and brother), even going so far as to dye her dark hair blonde to hide her Jewishness from SS Officer Ludwig Muentze in order to gain his confidence and infiltrate the Nazi HQ. Carice is incredibly convincing as the sexy ex-cabaret singer entertaining the smitten Captain Muentze, with whom she becomes infatuated, and his fellow SS officers with her 40s Bombshell looks and sweet voice.

The movie was a well-written, exciting, and suspenseful foreign language film (in Dutch, German, and English) from beginning to end. I highly recommend BLACK BOOK to anyone who enjoys good film making.
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