directed by Paul Verhoeven (2006)
Black Book is a sexy, entertaining, tiny little explosion of a movie. Telling a supposedly true story about the Dutch resistance during the final months of World War Two, it follows the indomitable cabaret singer Rachel Stein as she flees Nazi traps, bombs, betrayal and spies only to land a key spot within the Gestapo headquarters in Holland, by way of the captain’s bed.
All the lead players are excellent, especially Carice Van Houten who is sparkling, alive and incredibly riveting to watch. Her ruggedly handsome male counterpoints are equally impressive: Sebastian Koch (who you might recognize from The Lives of Others, but looks strangely similar to Verhoeven veteran Jeroen Krabbe) and Thom Hoffman.
As good as a movie as it is though, it was far more straight forward than I expected from Verhoeven, a man who usually adds some unusual flare to his films. While the signature sex and violence were intact, I suppose I was expecting something a bit more off the rails. Still, I was entertained and satisfied once I settled in.