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Black Book

As subversive as it is traditional

The title refers to the book containing the names of Jewish families who spend their savings for passage out of German-occupied Holland in 1944, only to be betrayed to the Nazis, who rob and murder them.Carice van Houten, a star in the making, plays Rachel Stein, who sees her family slaughtered while she escapes. Spurred on by revenge, she joins the Resistance. Told to dye her hair and pass for Aryan as singer Ellis de Vries, Rachel smuggles guns on a train with flirtatious Resistance doctor Hans Akkermans (Thom Hoffman). But a chance meeting with Nazi chief Ludwig Müntze (Sebastian Koch) leads to her most dangerous mission: Beguile the widowed Müntze into bed, get a job working at Nazi headquarters and bug the place so the Resistance can listen in. From that kernel springs a plot that Verhoeven loads with incident and thrilling action, taking time out for Rachel to sing at Nazi dinner parties and fall in love with Müntze. The chemistry between van Houten and Koch is palpable. They are easily the hottest couple in movies right now. Koch, who portrayed the playwright in the Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others, proves himself again to be a romantic, riveting screen presence. But the film belongs to van Houten, 29, a sexy, showstopping beauty with the gift possessed by only the best actors to make you feel the emotions roiling beneath the surface.Verhoeven is counting on the fact that we’ll follow her anywhere, and we do. Black Book, the first film Verhoeven has made in the Netherlands in two decades, lasts for 145 minutes. There’s not a dull second in the bunch. Verhoeven is back, baby, and he’s got his mojo working.Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
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Directed by: 
Paul Verhoeven
Running Time: 
145
Country(ies): 
Netherlands
Language: 
Dutch/English/German/Hebrew with English subtitles
Starring: 
Carice van Houten, Sebastan Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn
Screenplay by: 
Gerard Soeteman & Paul Verhoeven

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