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Black Book DVD Review

By Prairie Miller

That a movie about the Dutch Resistance against Nazi occupation in WWII puts the accent on erotic entertainment should come as no surprise indeed, when the director is revealed to be none other than Paul Verhoeven. He's been famously and otherwise best known for Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Total Recall, Robocop and Starship Troopers.

The Dutch bad boy of cinema weirdly combines elements from all of the above in Black Book (Zwartboek), as he conducts some sabotage of his own by teasingly subverting just about every idealized historical icon when it comes to WWII. This playful revisionism includes nice Nazis and exceedingly bad Dutch partisans. The nose thumbing, while never-a-dull-moment impressively mounted, more than teeters on disrespectfully bad taste.

Carice van Houten is delectable Dutch showgirl Rachel, who signs her name to the black book in question, for passage out of Holland of her Jewish family, in exchange for a huge sum of money. When the plans are foiled, Rachel joins the Resistance and gets into Aryan disguise, employing lots of, well, basic instinct to help win the war by sleeping with the enemy.

And that enemy targeted for seduction is namely high ranking German officer Muntze (Sebastien Koch), a nazi with a heart of gold who'd rather be tending to his stamp collection. While gleefully turning all prior war movie stereotypes on their heads with Black Book, Verhoeven opts for the bizarre theory that ravishing designing women and lots of sex can change the course of world history. Who let this man out of Hollywood.

SONY Picture Home Entertainment
Rated R

DVD Features: Audio Commentary with Director Paul Verhoeven; The Making of Black Book.

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