Black Book

Starring Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus, Derek de Lint, Christian Berkel, Dolf de Vries. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Running Time:
Rated: Rated MA+15 (strong violence, strong coarse language, strong nudity).

Black Book is a rare accomplishment, an erotic spy thriller set during the Nazi genocide of the Jews in World War 2, which avoids the easy didacticism of many American Holocaust movies (including Spielberg's Schindler's List), and shows with shocking clarity of insight the venal mendacity of the Nazi mind.

Directed by Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven (The Fourth Man, Robocop, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers), Black Book opens and closes in Israel in 1956, but begins properly in Holland in 1944, where Rachel Stein (Carice van Houten), a Jewish singer being sheltered by a pious Dutch family, is forced to flee the Nazis when the farmhouse in which she is staying is bombed by an Allied plane.

Helped by Rob (Michel Huisman),a sympathetic young neighbour, Rachel finds her way to the home of her father's lawyer, Mr Smaal (Dolf de Vries), who together with his wife is part of a network in The Hague, smuggling Jews into the liberated south of the country. Rachel is reunited with her family on a barge which, under cover of darkness, is to take the Steins and other wealthy Jews to freedom. But her joy turns to horror as all on board are machine-gunned before her eyes, and their bodies cold-bloodedly looted for hidden money and jewels.

Shocked and bitter, Rachel is rescued by Gerben Kuipers (Derek de Lint, Stealing Heaven, The Unbearable Lightness of Being), a leader in the Dutch resistance, who not only offers her work and a safe house, but the opportunity to avenge the murder of her family by working with the resistance.

In the course of her first mission with an able, charismatic member of the resistance, Hans Akkermans (Thom Hoffman, The Fourth Man), Rachel, using the nom de guerre Ellis de Vries, meets the head of the SD (German security forces) in Holland, Ludwig M

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