Black Book

Paul Verhoeven’s triumphant 2006 return to Dutch cinema after 20 years of Hollywood releases (Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers) is commercial moviemaking of the highest order, superbly mounted and paced. Its story of a sexy Jewish singer (Carice Van Houten) who poses as a Nazi for the Dutch resistance during World War II is based on 30 years of research and 20 years of script development with cowriter Gerard Soeteman (Soldier of Orange). Like much of Verhoeven’s best work, it’s shamelessly melodramatic, but in its dark moral complexities it puts Schindler’s List to shame. Van Houten and Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others) are only two of the standouts in an exceptional cast. In English and subtitled Dutch, German, and Hebrew. R, 145 min. a Century 12 and CineArts 6, Music Box.

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