Black Book is a cross between an exciting James Bond flick and well, any film about spies falling in love with their object of scrutiny. Black Book is based in Holland during the tumultous WWII period. Part of the country has been liberated, but spunky Jewish singer, Rachel Stein, stays in hiding as Jews remain targets of the local Gestapo. Rachel and family were told they could escape but everything turned out to be a trap- her entire family was killed with Rachel escaping by jumping into the menacing sea. She was then roped in by the Resistance, given a new identity and tasked with the mission of getting close to Muntze, a high-ranking Nazi officer.
Black Book is the second film to make me feel nauseous (the first being the excellent Blood and Bones)- i gagged several times throughout the movie. The violence is in-your-face and gross. The sex is explicit, raw and sometimes a little disturbing to watch. Franken, the evil Nazi, was disgusting whether he was talking, pounding the piano keys with gutso, grobing women, laughing- you get the drift.
I can’t really say much without giving the many twists away. Suffice to note that Black Book is riveting and action-packed. It is touching without being overly sentimental and bears testimony to the horrors of war. The cast is flawless and the lead actress Carice Van Houten, stunning. Rachel was beautiful, dazzling, funny, brash, crass, sad, tough, vulnerable, all at the same time. In action flicks, women are either man-like heroines, sluts or damsels in distress. Rachel was none of these. She was all-woman. She could get upset, she fell in love and yearned for a home. Yet, she was a survivor and had no qualms about using her body to satisfy her physical needs or simply as a means to an end. She is like the female Bond, just sexier and smarter. No man required.
Black Book isn’t perfect- towards the end, i got a little confused. Some parts felt a wee bit draggy and I am not entirely convinced how the real villain could pull everything off. Do not expect a love story that will sweep you off your feet- the love portion is unrealistic and Muntze is bland. Still, go watch it=) If I am not mistaken, it is airing only at the Picturehouse.