Director Paul Verhoeven makes my list often… because whether it's a gory sci fi movie about brain eating bugs, or a dark and grisly portrayal of mercenaries in the Middle Ages, he goes for it in his films -?all the way.
The Fourth Man, his take on both noirs and surrealism is no different. I saw this a long time ago and remember being really blown away by it, but in the following years always failed to convey and remember what it was about. There's a femme fatale, some scissor imagery, a crypt, some gay sex.. it was really hard to make a cohesive argument that people rent it, so I watched it again.
It's one bizarre film, tongue in cheek but with really arty, trippy surreal elements that may or may not be in the mind of an alcoholic, egocentric, Catholic, bisexual writer Gerard Reve (played with brilliant intensity by Jeroen Krabbe). Hotel rooms drip eyeballs, a woman shows him a key that looks like a gun, he sees his own name on a coffin, etc.
This weeks style icon, Renee Soutendijk plays the alluring young woman that enters his life in the role of femme fatale, with a grin and a wink. Did she really murder all her other husbands? Is Gerard her next victim? In the end, who knows. It's the strange, visually haunting journey that matters, though it's a journey that begins a bit more lively than it ends.
If you're a fan of Verhoeven, or just want to watch something a bit off center with sex, blood, and a few off kilter laughs, rent it today.