Monday, April 23, 2007

Everything I know about WWII, I learned from movies. Oh! And video games.

I ventured down to the DFT again over the weekend, this time to see Zwartboek, aka Black Book. You know, the WWII movie by Paul Verhoeven. Yeah, the guy who did Robocop. Yeah, he did Starship Troopers too. Yeah, and Showgirls. Verhoeven went back to his native Holland to make this movie about the Dutch resistance in WWII. A movie that would be the most expensive Dutch movie ever made, not to mention the highest grossing.

It all starts in 1956 Israel. A Dutch woman on a Holy Land tour runs into an old friend from back in the war. The friend is teaching a class in Hebrew, and much to our Dutch friend's surprise, is Jewish!

The teacher is the former Rachael Stein, a German Jew. We flashback to 1944, Rachael lives in a farm house with a family who forces her to recite scripture in order to be fed. When the farmhouse is inadvertently bombed, she must go on the run again. It's at this time that she meets up with a man who tells her about a way to escape to freedom. All she needs is to be ready and bring all her money. It's at this time that she is reunited with her family to make the crossing. The crossing, however, is a rouse to kill and rob the Jews! Rachael is the only survivor on the massacre.

Fun Fact! Jews were persecuted in WWII

Rachael then ends up joining the Dutch resistance and is instrumental in smuggling in insulin and wire tapping the office of a high ranking Nazi. She also manages to fall in love with a different high ranking Nazi. The shit, however, hits the proverbial fan when he finds out that she's a Jew and might be working against the Nazi's. She gives him some info, but when he tries to use it, it gets turned around on him and he gets arrested by a German Howie Mandel.

In the subsequent jailbreak, a number of Dutch resistance members are killed and the Nazi's use the wire tap to make it appear that Rachael tipped them off. Now, the Nazi's plan to kill her, and the Dutch want her dead too! Once again, though, she manages to escape from the German's to freedom.

When the liberation comes, she and her Nazi boyfriend are still on the run. Now they have to avoid the Dutch themselves. As she starts to collect information to clear her name, her lawyer gets killed, her boyfriend gets arrested and she gets captured.

It's really kind of sad, the poor girl can't catch a break throughout the movie. Every time things look up, they dump more shit on her. Everyone who tries to befriend of help her ends up worse for it. It's as though she's cursed. You're really rooting for her the entire movie, but she just can't catch a break.

Verhoeven, in his commentary for Starship Troopers said that he was trying to convey the message that "war makes fascists of us all." It's a message that he was sort of coy about in Starship Troopers, but comes right out and beats you over the head with in Black Book. No one is innocent in this movie, everyone is sinning and everyone is only looking out for themselves. If it means working with the Nazi's to kill and rob rich Jews, then so be it. Who says you can't work with the Nazi's and be a hero of the resistance? It's okay to fuck everyone over so long as you can save your own son, right? Everyone has their motives for the things that they do. everything is justifiable.

It really was an amazing movie, and if you get the chance, check it out. 8 greedy bastards locked in coffin while they try to escape justice for their crimes out of 10.