Black Book (Paul Verhoeven – 2006) A

Loved this hidden gem and one of the Verhoeven movies that I’ve never even heard of until it popped up on the Criterion Channel. Set in the final couple of years of World War II it tells a story based on the real life Rachel Stein, played by Carice van Houten who delivers a nuanced and dynamic performance. She is Jewish, her family gunned down in a failed attempt to escape the Netherlands and she ends up hiding under the name Ellis working in a soup kitchen in the Hague with a bunch of resistance fighters. When a few of her buddies get captured and the local SS commander Muntze (Sebastian Koch) takes a liking to her she takes on the role of his mistress and a spy for the resistance. All seems familiar up to this point, but Black Book is only taking off at his stage and still has a lot of twists and turns. It is not about the black and white decisions, the good and the bad, but about a whole lot of gray in between.


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