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Showing 1-10 of 233 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 368 reviews
on July 12, 2015
This is a great WWII film about a young Jewish woman who becomes a spy for the Dutch resistance against the Nazis.

Carice van Houten plays the sexy heroine who does whatever it takes to infiltrate the Nazis that are occupying the Dutch in the late days of the war. Corruption and intrigue are readily found both within the Nazi ranks and the local population. As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly hard to know who can be trusted on both sides of the conflict.

This is an extremely well executed film by director Paul Verhoeven, and van Houten gives a riveting performance as the lead actress surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Excellent editing keeps the pace of the film fairly quick despite its two-and-a-half hours in length, and solid set decoration, location selection, and cinematography immerses one quite thoroughly in the period setting. This is a superb drama that I cannot recommend enough.
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on January 9, 2017
Wow. Though the historical accuracy is iffy (the timeline is way off; the Gestapo were not SS), you will find a very riveting suspense film. Sterling performances, particularly by Carice van Houten. Its portrayal of the factions within the Dutch Resistance (some saw helping the Jews as important, others notably less) rings true and was characteristic of the partisans in virtually every country the Nazis occupied. Overall, a gripping tale of survival in a period when so, so many had their tales cut short.
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on February 18, 2017
The most popular Dutch movie made, although I personally feel that "Admiral" was better, but that is just my personal opinion. This is an entertaining movie about the Dutch resistance in WW2. I feel however that the movie is a bit liberal regarding the secrecy that was necessary to keep people in hiding safe from the Nazis. Transporting them in plain sight on top of a barge was definitely out of the question, exposing them to small children would have been another great risk, as was being out during daylight hours and mentioning that they were in hiding to a total stranger. Shooting in broad daylight in the middle of Amsterdam by the resistance seems also very unlikely. It is a movie worth watching nonetheless.
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on June 16, 2016
Amazing true story. Very thought provoking look at human nature and how humans behave in a war time crisis situation. The Nazis were not
the only people who were anti Semitic. Acting was suburb. Very realistically done. great effort in maintaining historical settings. A very well
done movie. Assuming the events in the movie really took place it lays bare primitive instincts. Loyalty and betrayal. I was ten years old during
the war and I don't remember hearing much about what took place in he countries involved.
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on February 2, 2017
World War 2 and very high level espionage, and death is the price of discovery. I would say this was an "exciting film" if it weren't so true-to-life, and based on actual fact. The film graphically shows the cruel excesses of the German 'final solution', and the story itself portrays all the twist and turns of the war. Acting is superb. The authenticity of the film is incontrovertible. The story will keep the audience riveted for the entire length of the film.
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on September 14, 2011
I am in the throes of the magical kind of trance that occurs when I've just been totally immersed for a couple of hours in a marvelous film. This is the real joy of going to the movies.

In this case, it is the 2006 Dutch film Black Book directed by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct). Two hours twenty minutes of excitement, suspense, and wonderful acting. Dutch actress Carice Van Houten gives a remarkable performance, ably backed up by Sebastian Koch, Derek de Lint, and Thom Hoffman. It is truly a pleasure to watch these fascinating, unfamiliar faces as they put most of our American actors to shame.

Black Book begins in 1944 Netherlands as the Germans hunt down Jews trying to escape to liberated territory before being shipped off to the death camps. Rachel, the protagonist, survives a devilish trap in which her family is murdered and hooks up with the Dutch underground. In her attempt at revenge, we meet Nazis who become human and allies who betray. The mystery of Black Book is about who betrayed whom and when? I won't spoil the story for you but I will say the intelligent, complex script by Gerard Soeteman and Verhoeven kept me guessing up until the very end.

The realistic portrayal of World War II Holland reminded me of an earlier Verhoeven film, Soldier of Orange. He has obviously grown as a director who knows how to tell a good story. He is known for violence and sexual content, but after all Black Book is a war film, not Breakfast At Tiffany's. I'm only sorry I didn't see this exciting film when it was first released, but better late than never. Treat yourself to a copy.
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on November 15, 2012
When you watch the movie Black Book, you can see why the Critics say it is the best Dutch movie ever made. It is based from a true story when Holland is under Nazi occupation when a young Jewish Girl played by Carice van Houten ( who also played Nina von Staffenburg in Valkyrie) is reunited with her parents and her Brother but only to see them and other Jewish people get murdered by German Soldiers. She manged to survive and she was determined to find the Dutch " Double - crosser" who took money from Jewish people who offered them a safe passage to Belgium and taking their money and taking them directly to the path of the Nazis. She decides to join the Dutch Resistance and is prepared to do what ever it takes to get the information she needs to find out those details and also getting as much information from the German High command in Amsterdam. She gains the trust of the Germans and gets access to the Dossiers and falls in love with a German Major. She also discovers that there are traitors in the Dutch Resistance as well. Black Book is a very well made movie and it keeps your attention the whole time while you are watching it.
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on January 9, 2014
I saw a preview for this film on another DVD and was sufficiently intrigued to buy it. It is a good story, good film overall, but very dark. I watched it once end-to-end; since then I haven't been able to watch the whole thing, knowing what's coming for the characters. Normally I watch movies many many times, but so far not this one. But this film is a good way to examine and consider an aspect of WW II that doesn't get as much cinematic attention.
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VINE VOICEon September 15, 2011
A Rolling Stone quote on the case is "Provocative and Potently Erotic". This is a very good description of this film. It is not your standard World War II movie. This film presents a very different and very real look at the war. The characters are well developed and we come to care about them.
A very good-looking woman becomes involved with the Germans to spy for the Resistance. This is a game of cat and mouse set in occupied Holland where good, evil, truth or lies all become dependent on what one is trying to do at the current time. While the story seems simple, there are a number of layers to it, involving greed, opportunity, fear and love.
The film is over two hours and is in Dutch. You need to be ready to read the subtitles and watch the action. Given the story, there is a good deal of nudity and sexual activity. The film never becomes NC-17 or X rated but this is for adults.
This is one of the best foreign films about World War II. This and Soldier of Orange are the two WWII Dutch I wanted in my library. Paul Verhoeven did both films producing thought provoking and entertaining stories.
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on May 20, 2009
This is a very good film. The solitary reason I held back from giving it five stars is due to the liberties taken with the occupation history in order to fit the story into a time frame of September 1944 to May 1945. BLACK BOOK cannot be categorized as a war film. It is a drama thriller, complete with a mystery that is only resolved at the conclusion of the film, set during the final year of World War Two in Europe.

The film's main character is Rachel Stein, who later goes by the name of Ellis de Vries. The movie begins with Rachel in Israel eleven years after the European war. After meeting one of her wartime friends, the setting moves back to wartime Holland. It is late 1944 and Rachel and her family have thus far succeeded in hiding from the Nazis. As the Allied advance has stalled after September's Operation Market Garden, Rachel, her family, and dozens of others attempt to reach liberated Holland via a lumbering barge zigzagging through the marshes. Unfortunately they are betrayed and intercepted by a German patrol boat. As the sole survivor of the incident, Rachel makes her way to the Hague, changes her name and goes under cover for the resistance. She is motivated in part by the fact that she recognizes an officer at SS headquarters as one of the Germans who took part in the massacre and looting of the refugees who attempted to escape through the marshes.

At the SS headquarters she becomes romantically involved with a Sicherheitdienst officer Ludwig Muntze. Muntze realizes quickly that Rachel is not what she appears to be, but is smitten with her and does not take any action. For his part Muntze also realizes the the war is ending badly for Germany and secretly negotiates a cease fire with the resistance. Muntze attempts to assist Rachel by exposing SS officer Franken as an embezzler of looted jewels, money, and other valuables. The attempt backfires and Muntze's superior, Kautner, imprisons Muntze.

The resistance attempts to free some of their own from the basement of the headquarters, but are ambushed by alerted German SS troops. It becomes obvious that there is an additional traitor in the reistance. Rachel, now imprisoned by the SS, is framed as the traitor. She and Muntze subsequently escape from the prison, wait out the end of the war, and attempt to clear their names before they are captured by the Dutch and the mystery as to the real traitor continues to unfold.

The above summary barely does justice to the film as there are additional twists and turns, but you will have to watch the movie to find out what happens.

Unlike director Paul Verhoeven's earlier work SOLDIER OF ORANGE, BLACK BOOK is not a true story -- though it is billed as based on true events. This is where the film departs from some historical accuracy. In the beginning of the film we find Rachel living in circumstances similar to that of Ann Frank -- living in a secret annex of a farm house. Later she joins other refugees attempting to cross the rivers and marshes of the Biesbosch. In 1944 - 1945 the Biesbosch served as a regular route for couriers, refugees, and Airborne escapees. The film then jumps from September to several months later, which would put the film in February 1945, though it does not look like February. At that point in history the Dutch in occupied Holland suffered greatly in the what became known as the Hunger Winter. With the exception of the soup kitchen where Rachel is employed, the Hunger Winter is not portrayed in this film. Likewise in BLACK BOOK the Dutch rail service appears to be uninterrupted at this stage of the war. The final deviation from history is that the Germans at the SS headquarters celebrate Hitler's birthday in a fashion that would have been more likely in 1942 and not at at time when the Soviets had already surrounded Berlin and V-2 rockets were no longer being fired from the Hague.

Those points aside, the movie returns to the historical period with the euphoria surrounding the liberation and use of German military personnel for labor and administrative duties in the months following the German surrender.

There are some very familiar faces in this movie. In fact, four of the stars would also appear in 2008's VALKYRIE. Actor Christian Berkel makes yet another appearance as shaved-headed German officer. We have seen him in other war time setting movies such as DOWNFALL, VALKYRIE, and MIRACLE AT ST, ANNA.

In the end, BLACK BOOK has elements of war, Holocaust, love story, and detective thriller. Yes, as a European film there are some risque scenes included that lend very little to the story, but you expect this sort of thing from a movie lensed in the Netherlands.
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