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Black Book
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  • Great movie on the Dutch Resistance during WWII
    Darn good movie about a Jewish fugitive who's Family and friends are massacred in an ambush, while attempting to escape the Nazis to neutral territory. She ends up helping the Dutch Resistance getting "inside" the local Gestapo to spy, sabotage and derail their actions against the Resistance in 1944. Excellent story line and script continuity that keeps you interested, with no slowdown between scenes.

    The Jewish woman Rachel Stein becomes Ellis De Vries and temps fate at nearly every corner, all the while, falling in love with the German Captain Meuntze; who is trying to reach a truce with the Resistance (unbeknownst to his Superiors). Barely escaping with her life, "The Resistance" still after her at war's end; thinking she had double-crossed them, contributing (wrongly) to the deaths of dozens of Jews and Dutch Resistance. With the "real collaborator" uncovered in the Black Book she happens upon, from one of the many Nazi collaborators as he's killed soon after the Allied Liberation.

    Excellent acting from Carice Van Houten as Rachel Stein/Ellis De Vries, Thom Hoffman as Dr. Hans Aakermanns; one of the Resistance leaders (and turning out to be a Nazi Collaborator), Sebastian Koch as the German Captain Ludwig Muentze and superb Direction by Paul Verhoeven.

    Darn, I'm really beginning to love these European films. Another good Dutch film is "May 6th" - (2004) Based on events surrounding the 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn....more info
  • Mesmerizing
    This film chronicles the Dutch resistance against Nazi aggression in WWII following a Jewish protagonist named Rachel Stein/Ellis de Vries. The decisions Rachel/Ellis must make to maintain her cover in some extremely difficult situations will make some viewers uncomfortable, but I challenge those who view BLACK BOOK to ask themselves what they would have done?

    This is not in the same vein as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN or PATTON-there are gunshots here and there, but the blood and guts in this film are the consenquences that come with Rachel/Ellis's actions (wonderfully portrayed by Carice van Houten). Strong performances by the supporting players as well (particularly Sebastian Koch who played the Nazi Muntze). A fantastic film, 4.5 stars!...more info
  • Entertaining WWII film set in German-occupied Holland let down by cartoonish treatment and plot inconsistencies
    This well-produced Dutch film traces the experiences of a young Dutch-Jewish woman in German-occupied Holland in the final stages of WWII. With Paul Verhoeven at the helm you know you are there are going to be some unusual touches and fans will not be disappointed - the film has fetishistic love scenes, cartoonish action, and numerous plot inconsistencies and ambiguities. Although long the film is never boring. The acting is excellent, particulary by the leads Carice van Houten and Sebastian Koch. What really detracts from the impact of this film is an illogical plot development surrounding Koch's character at the end of the film from which is never quite recovers. Nevertheless this film provides yet another interesting perspective on WWII.

    As usual Verhoeven provides a tremendously frank and entertaining "director's commentary"....more info
  • A dutch movie missing something.....still, it's a pretty good movie
    A movie about WWII.The movie is almost very well made.I'm not sure, but it's just a feeling that remains with you after you watched it....more info
  • Sensational Sex and Violence; Left Me Emotionally and Intellectually Unmoved
    If you like seeing beautiful young women completely naked, and posed in compromising and perverse scenarios, then "Black Book" is for you.

    Carice van Houten as Rachel / Ellis, a Jew who falls in love with a Gestapo chief, is fully exposed onscreen, and things are done to her body that I've not only not seen in movies before, I didn't think I'd ever see.

    The sex only lets up in order to make way for graphic violence: a graphic scene of torture by water boarding, death by firing squad, and suffocation in a coffin whose lid is slowly screwed shut.

    Director Paul Verhoeven was criticized for depicting a Jewish woman as the lover of a Gestapo chief, and for depicting the Dutch Resistance as less than uniformly heroic in its resistance. I expected to be shocked by these features, but I was not. I just felt bludgeoned into numbness by all the nudity and bloodletting.

    I watched this movie on DVD, and after a while I just fast forwarded or closed my eyes through scenes I simply didn't want to watch: a woman exposing Ellis' body to the very Nazi who had murdered her parents, Ellis being drenched in bodily waste, yet another pile of corpses.

    The production values are very high. The movie looks fantastic. If you are into sex, violence, and sensation, this is the movie for you.

    I've read a lot of memoirs of the Nazi era, and met survivors. The Nazi era was not fun and games. I find watching movies about those days to be hard. When I do watch them, I want to feel that I've learned something, or felt something, that made watching the movie worthwhile.

    I didn't learn anything about the WW II era while watching this movie, although I did learn something about exploitation. I was unmoved. Carice van Houten is lovely, but she plays her role as a tough cookie. Given that she is a sex toy in the film, I found it hard to relate to her humanity.

    In the end, when Ellis / Rachel finally breaks down and begins to cry, one of her co-stars morphs into an eyebrow arching, mustache twirling parody of a Hitchcock villain, and tries to murder her by injection. That scene was so desperate for shock value I lost all faith in the film at that point.

    Sebastian Koch, who played Ludwig Muntze, the kind and sensitive Gestapo chief with whom Rachel falls in love, left me completely unmoved. This is especially remarkable given how terrific Koch was in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's film "The Lives of Others." ...more info
  • So close to perfect, so very, very close...
    For a film that was twenty years in the making so-to-speak I was a little disappointed with the one thing that time should have perfected; the script. If you take the finished product from about twenty minutes in and about twenty minutes shy of the credits you have a near perfect film, intriguing and entertaining and completely absorbing. If you think about the first and the last twenty minutes though you have frustration, or at least I do.

    The beginning is, in my opinion, a little rushed. I would have loved to have seen Rachel's character fleshed out a little more in the opening sequences, so that I could get a handle on who she really was and what it was in her life that made her the woman we meet. The ending seems to drag on a bit too long with plot twist after plot twist that could have easily have been condensed in order for more attention to have been given to, say, the beginning of the film. In all fairness though this is quite an adventurous undertaking, and the concept behind this film could have easily filled a trilogy so fitting so much in a near three hour film is a hard thing to do. So, when taking this into consideration `Zwartboek' (`Black Book') is really a rewarding spectacle.

    The film follows a young Jewish woman named Rachel Stein who witnesses the brutal murder of her family and friends and miraculously survives. She joins the Dutch Resistance in an attempt to avenge her family's death and in the process becomes involved with two very different yet equally intriguing men. She is immediately attracted to a member of the Resistance, Hans Akkermans, but she is assigned to infiltrate the Gestapo by seducing SS-Official Ludwig Muntze. Muntze is charming and handsome and is obviously infatuated with Rachel (who is going by the name of Ellis de Vries) even after uncovering her Jewish heritage. Rachel manages to uncover information that helps the Resistance but her efforts aren't always met with success and a sudden twist leaves her an enemy of both the Gestapo and the Resistance.

    Carice van Houten nails her performance here with grace and empowerment. I was blown away by her immaculate presence, her determination to the role and her range of varying emotions that transcend words; and when she sings (and yes she did all her own singing) I was in heaven. She was the perfect complement to Sebastian Koch's magnificence. Koch is turning out to be my German Russell Crowe, an actor who just holds my attention with every inch of his person. He's as beautiful to look at as he is to watch perform and this only adds to his magnetism. His performance as Ludwig Muntze is intense and commanding. He really makes this man someone we can easily fall in love with, someone we can understand and relate to and want to see more of. Thom Hoffman also nails his performance as Hans. He shows a great range of emotions, from infatuation to determination to jealous distain. Other performances worth recognizing are that of Halina Reijn who plays Rachel's friend Ronnie and Waldemar Kobus who plays Gunther Franken with such flaunted despicability you can't help but be entranced by his presence.

    `Zwartboek' is a beautiful film to watch. Every frame holds your attention and forces you to admire what director Paul Verhoeven is accomplishing (or trying to accomplish) here. It's sexy and provocative and comes across like a guilty pleasure, which is a very good thing. The cinematography is just orgasmic, everything feeling so real, a real that only Hollywood can portray. I do wish that the film were longer, if only to flesh out the story behind the story, the story that is Rachel Stein. I would have loved to have learnt more about her. I know that that was not the purpose of the film and I do know that a film should focus on one aspect of a story and not give us so much that we lose interest and or find ourselves lost, I guess I just felt so intrigued by what I saw that I want to know more. I feel that with a little tweak in the script it could have been, from start to finish, perfection. ...more info
  • Black Book (Blu-ray)
    I never got to view the dvd because something was wrong with it. I would love to have seen this movie as the reviews seemed really good. I tried for a second time but the dvd sent had something wrong also so I never got to see it. I was very disappointed. ...more info
  • Very Surprising Bargain
    Purchased DVD at blockbuster sale. Definitely a good deal. Other reviewers tell you the story, I'll just say that in my opinion it was a damn good movie, even tho some parts of it were tough to watch...more info
  • Black Box- a review
    I consider that Black Box was suspenseful, well acted and very much a thriller. RPB, Massachusetts...more info
  • Candy
    A very well done WWII tale. This is the best this director has done in a while. The movie looks sharp. The actors are excellent. And the mystery holds to the end. This deserves a larger audience than showed up at the theatres. Action, sex and candy....more info
  • High production values, good story, but two problems...
    There are two things about Black Book that made me wish I had not spent the time watching it. Number one, the movie starts out several years after the main story. Because of this, we already know the ultimate outcome for the main character, and the suspense of all the travails of that character is blunted.

    Number two, the main character's situation and her trials are sympathetic. But the character is played so cool (not completely cold, but definitely cool) emotionally that I did not buy it. She gets in some incredibly tight spots and doesn't really show the tension and strain to make it believable. Not for me, at least. Maybe some people like that kind of a heroine, but honestly Lara Croft shows more humanity sometimes than this gal.

    These are two serious flaws. They didn't ruin the movie, but made it much less enjoyable. ...more info
  • no spoilers listed here
    I'd rather just say I watched this movie twice on back to back nights as I found it quite entertaining. The sub-titles didn't distract from the plot and the set up didn't spoil the plot. You can read any review and they might spoil the story, right ? But rather than story, which is superb, its the pacing and characters that grab you and make you at times love and hate them. It's got two gristly sequences which in my mind didn't have to be so in your face. But beyond that its a story of survival and one that even when you know the answer might take you on other roads to complete the screenplays idea's. Just go see it, BEST film I've seen all year, thats BOTH times I watched it. In fact I could watch it again and enjoy the acting and the whole Mcguffin as Hitch would have said ;)...more info
  • A Superb World War II Thriller
    "Black Book" is the story of Rachel Stein (Clarice van Houten), a beautiful Jewish woman hiding out in Holland from the Nazis. When her plan to escape goes terribly wrong, she manages to take on a new identity, work for the Dutch Resistance, and infiltrate the enemy. But working for the enemy takes its toll when both sides turn against her. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, "Black Book" is an exciting, beautifully crafted World War II thriller. The script is always way ahead of the viewer as it takes unexpected twists and turns along the way. Van Houten is excellent, and the movie has the look of an expensive Hollywood epic, despite its far more modest budget. The movie is fast paced, and contains plenty of action, but it's the story of Rachel that remains central. ...more info
  • Gripping
    What an amazing movie! I saw this in the theatre, skeptical that a Jewish Resistance fighter would fall in love with the local SS head. The movie developed the story so wonderfully that it runs so very smoothly. You watch as she loses her family, begins to work for the dutch resistance and all that happens afterwards. I have been eagerly waiting for the movie to be released! Don't wait to see it!...more info
  • Things are not always what they seem...
    The other reviewers have covered the plot and story line well, so I won't go into that. I'll just say that like in real life (it was based on a true story) things are not always like they seem. By the time you think you have the characters figured out, they will throw you for a loop. Who's good and who's bad? This one will keep you guessing and glued to the screen.

    Carice van Houten is a beautiful, talented and very chrismatic actress. Carice and Sebastian Koch (who plays the Nazi officer who falls in love with her) have red hot chemistry on screen. It turns out that in real life they are in a paramour relationship. Koch's character is actually using his position as a Nazi officer to help the Dutch resistance, making him a sort of sympathetic character, as he finds his humanity.

    Yes, there is LOTS of nudity, violence and graphic love scenes. It's a war picture. I tend to be conservative where nudity, violence and S.E.X. are concerned, but I do believe it adds to the plot and the passionate moods that the film maker is trying to create. Not many movies have me thinking about them for months after I watch, but this movie did!

    In closing, perhaps this film's very graphic portrayal of war isn't for everyone, but I thought it was great. The soundtrack was enjoyable too. By the way, Sebastian Koch was quite easy on my eyes. I'd love to see him and Carice van Houten star together again....more info
  • Good watch!
    I am not one to watch non-English speaking shows, I actually bought this by mistake (did not read the details properly). But no regrets at all! An exciting story line, it gave me a feeling like one of those old classic WWII movies which I enjoy so much. But, keep it away from the kids, though (quite a bit of nudity)....more info
  • A WWII Thriller
    A fictional war drama based on a true story, this film unfortunately received only limited release in the USA. Full of action and truly entertaining. Carice van Houten plays a beautiful Jewish woman living in German-occupied Holland during late 1944 who enrolls in the Resistance to fight the Nazis who killed her family....more info
  • Schindler's List meets Pearl Harbor meets Pulp Fiction
    My title probably says more than I can put into full sentences. This movie mixed the cheesy, swashbuckling, heroic, sanitized-warfare quality of Pearl Harbor (the bad-guys are all ugly, creepy, uncharismatic) with the sheer darkness of genocide and military occupation of Schindler's List (lots of blood, innocent people getting killed). Instead of blending heroic and tragic qualities, with moments of comic relief, like what usually happens in an epic story, the tone of the movie just periodically jumps back and forth between the two. A Schindler's List-Pearl Harbor mash-up would be another way to describe it. I'm throwing in Pulp Fiction because the good-guys aren't heroic in the traditional sense, their main virtues (especially the heroine's) are being coldly rational, calm and calculating. The good-guys (e.g. resistance fighters) also tend to be flawed in various ways (many of them curse Rachel/Ellis with anti-Semitic slurs when they think she's betrayed them).

    And then there are a lot cases of women in weird, sexually compromised situations. This might be a good portrayal of what happens to women in wartime, except that our heroine just plugs along, as if all of these twistedly awkward scenes are there to entertain us, which they kind of are. Carice Van Houten does a brilliant job as the heroine, and I would love to see her in another, less nauseating movie someday.

    I also detected political undertones that I frankly found disturbing. One of the rich Jewish women who's fleeing the Nazis at the beginning is reluctant to take off a (flashy) diamond necklace when the boat captain tells her it might glitter and alert Nazi soldiers (she says "But I've worn this all my life.") Nevermind that this is a pretty believable thing for a person in her position to feel, in my opinion, it felt like the director was just rubbing my nose in a stereotype, like, just to be controversial and iconoclastic.

    And then there are the opening and ending scenes of the movie, set in Israel, where the desert is enthusiastically blooming. The ending scene has invisible gunmen shooting at their kibbutz/settlement (founded with the money of Holocaust victims' families as a safe place for refugees, a sign reminds us). Of course we don't see that there are Arabs around there, just gunfire and the Israeli soldiers shooting back. Not seeing those faces is important, because up to this point, the movie was full of characters with complex, morally-ambiguous ways of trying to survive in wartime (excepting the really ugly, ebil characters, who are just ugly and ebil), and seeing Arab faces there would remind us that, like the SS officer that our heroine, Rachel/Ellis, falls in love with, and like other Nazis and Dutch collaborators, these too are people with their own stories, struggles, and complex motives. Instead, we switch to a totally subjective viewpoint of Jews forever dogged by senseless violence. (Because, unlike the Holocaust, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn't have complex, morally ambiguous causes?) These scenes in Israel are only a few short minutes of a long, long movie, but they are important because they frame the whole story.

    Two things that I give the movie some points for: 1) the Nazis repeatedly referring to the Dutch resistance as "terrorists", and 2) portraying them using waterboarding on captured resistance fighters. This probably isn't a very bold statement anywhere other than in the US, where the government tells us waterboarding isn't torture, and Alan Dershowitz argues that we should use torture, because it worked for the Nazis.

    I'm very curious how the movie comes across to Dutch viewers....more info
  • Black Book
    Outstanding production. Excellent cinematography.The story line is not new but it is presented in such a refreshing style that you feel sympathetic towards the "bad guys"....more info
  • Multiple Plot Twists Strain Credibility But Still Entertaining
    This very different WWII film has more plot twists than a Harry Potter novel but nevertheless it is very entertaining to watch. Set in German occupied Holland, the intrigue and deception being played out by almost all of the primary characters makes it very difficult to sort out the good guys from the bad until the film ultimately does it for you at the end.
    A plan to trick wealthy members of the Jewish community into a false escape plan in order to rob them of their valuables sets the plot in motion and the architects of this evil are not necessarily the usual suspects. The movie deals in people pretending to be what they are not and it is never dull.
    For those looking for historical accuracy and plausabilty in a WWII film, this may be a disappointment which explains some of the negative reviews. If on the other hand you are looking for a twisiting plot with lot's of action this isn't a bad choice. Let's face it Casablanca isn't exactly historically accurate either but it's considered a classic. Black Book is far from a classic but it's pretty good....more info
  • heroes are ordinary people who react in extraordinary ways to terrible events
    It is not a straightforward story, not by any means. In the beginning there is a line: based on actual events. Perhaps it is true, maybe life is beyond imagination (or the collective beyond any one person's ability to imagine), things have happened that we can not envision, that truth is stranger than fiction. In any case, this is better than any mystery or whodunit movie i can remember, having those sublime moments where you want to hide your eyes because you know something really bad is going to happen to those sympathetic characters you have come to like but are forced open by the realization that you have no idea of what is going to happen to them and you don't want to miss a second of it. I was frustrated at my inability to guess who was the really bad guy, i was shocked at the chain of events at almost every turn and the twists are just plain devious and demented. It is an excellent mystery, a tormented look into how ordinary people react in extraordinary circumstances, a set historical piece with careful attention to detail and a love story, something for everyone (even as the box says: rated R for strong violence, graphic nudity, sexuality and language) Like i said, something for everyone.

    I put it into the category of a must see movie. a 5 star.
    there is a very good synopsis of the movie's plot over at the wiki. I could do no better than to encourage people to go read it. Nothing i could write could approach it in completeness. What i'd like to think about is heroes. Especially in the wake of Ken Burn's series on the War, i've been thinking about ordinary people doing heroic things when called upon by extraordinary times. And how so few people seem to be the right kind of heroes. We have lots of heroic efforts in war time, sadly the best and most energies seem to be called out of people when they try to kill each other, or try to survive being killed. The energies of Germany under Hitler ignited Europe, the heroic efforts of people literally burned down and destroyed the work of centuries. Heroes on the American assembly lines of B24's, many or even most women working for the first time out of the house, created waves of thousands of bombers to ignite European and Japanese cities. Heroes on the ground cleaned up the rubble and continued to build their tanks and armaments long after ordinary people would have quit and died. On both sides great heroic energies were called forth out of ordinary people who often rose to the occasion and did things that they themselves could not have imagined just a few years before. Maybe it is the curse of ordinary times that people sleep walk through life never encountering such events that allow them to show what they are really made up of. Maybe it is the salvation of ordinary times that we so seldom encounter such terrible years. But the shame is that they always seem to involve war, never the call to higher ideals and a life of sacrifice to loftier, more noble goals.

    In this movie we have examples of three types of people rising far above themselves and entering into that realm of heroes. The key character of Rachel, who is ready to do anything to avenge the cruel death of her family, These are our "normal" heroes, those we hold up to future generations and teach them that this is how they ought to act in extraordinary times, knowing full well that we didn't in our day and probably nor will they. Then there is the anti-hero, those heroes literally working for the wrong side, Muntze is this sort of person, trying to negotiate a truce with the Resistance. Daring to love in the midst of what he knows will be a losing war for his side, forcing the truth out of Rachel and using it to try to disarm his sadist and cruel commander. There is another kind of "hero" as well, if we think of a hero as an ordinary people who responds in amazing ways to these extraordinary events. These too come wearing black and white hats, some we recognize and have admired for a long time- the Resistance and those pitifully few Europeans who sheltered the Jews from the Nazi rage and death camps. They are protrayed in the movie, like real people with feet of clay, a farm family with Rachel in the barn allowed to eat if she memorizes a verse of New Testament every day before breakfast. Resistance members who exclaim that 40 good Dutchmen and worth more than any number of blank blank Jews. It is these sympathetic, well drawn, realistic characters that really give this movie depth and interest, that make it a really good movie worth thinking about.

    But like the movie, bracketed by two old friend's chance meeting in Israel, the real heroes of the story are women and how they respond to the evil, cruelty and death of war.
    Ronnie is the anti-hero for Rachel, the woman who gives into temptation and joins the party. She is the one who survives because she collaborates, she cooperates, she sleeps with the enemy.
    But Rachel too sleeps with the enemy, deliberately and with great preparation and seduction, yet she falls in love with the enemy, the ultimate betrayal and hopes to spend the rest of her life with him, if only the fates allow. Where Ronnie takes lightly what life offers, Rachel grabs and holds on for dear life. It is this constant contrast that the movie strives for and is it's big point, Heroes are ordinary people, doing extraordinary things, all the time demonstrating the mixture of good and evil that lives within us all. Those good Dutch people who pounce upon anyone at the end of the war labelled a collaborator and one almost beats Rachel to death because she stands up to their torment and will not publically strip and humilate herself. Those women like Ronnie who jump into the Canadian jeeps in the same way they jumped into the Nazi conqueror's 4 years before. It is a protrayal of the clay feet of our heroes, the twisted ways people respond to extraordinary events, each trying to make enough breathing space to keep them and their loved ones alive until ordinary times return.

    In the movie we recognize pieces of how we hope we would react to similar events, those heroes who rise well above and beyond, those villains who capitulate and sell out their friends for their own lives, those greed and gold possessed souls who think of nothing but how to steal and escape to live out their lives in comparative wealth and safety. It is the strength of the movie, and it's underlying script that these things are presented to our conscious minds for our consideration and analysis. The stolen blood money from the doubled crossed and butchered wealthy hidden Jews of the Netherlands, planned by a despotic Nazi for his final solution and safe retirement fund and ending up in the hands of the biggest traitor and with his death Rachel's and the Resistance leader's, ends up financing a kibutizum in Israel that finishes the movie being occupied by soldiers fighting yet another new war. It is these twists and kinks that make for excellent movie watching and rightly make this an extraordinary movie.

    A few notes: pay attention to the sounds, even though it is subtitled (you need to turn them on), much of it is in English, but much of it is in several languages simultaneously, a pleasure to listen to.

    It is a magicans movie, watch their hands, watch for the disinformation and false leads it presents. Enjoy those moments where you feel you must look away but are rivetted to the screen by the action. Look for the subtle and nearly humorous, whose picture is the microphone hidden behind? What are the store fronts that the Resistance uses? Look for the ironies that make for it's lifelike and realistic feel- the truck serves to avoid hitting street urchins who in turn strip the truck of it's camoflage of food leading the Nazis to the weapons and the death of many Resistance fighters. It is a good movie, i see from the wiki article that a book was written FROM the script, odd i thought that all the best movies were from good novels, maybe a few are from good analysis and retrospect on life itself....more info
  • Don't take it too seriously
    To begin with, I did enjoy watching this movie, but there were quite a few issues.

    The main issue is that you just don't care: you don't care when anyone gets killed, you don't care when Tim is tortured (by the way, he did NOT start bickering with Franken; and his shirt must have had at least one tiny speck of dust on it), you don't care when Rachel/Ellis is being humiliated, you don't care when her family and friends are gunned down.

    The only character I cared about remotely was Theo, and I loved his scene when he shot Van Gein. Johnny de Mol was great in that.

    The next issue is that I can pretty well guarantee that this movie would not have been made, say, 20 years after the war. The whole "nice Nazi officer" concept would have been ridiculed in the Netherlands, let alone a big romance between a Gestapo highup officer and a Jewess. It's a fantasy, and a badly done one --- Rachel/Ellis must have a stomach of steel: you could skin a live puppy in front of that woman and she wouldn't move. I don't know if this was intentional or just lousy acting, but it kind of detracted.

    The next issue is that none of it really made any sense, and sometimes it just went too far: I mean there is NO WAY she got that painting back up on the wall before M¨šntze walked in. The movie was full of problems like that.

    The torture was minimal --- the scene lasted less than 2 minutes. In certain scenes, there really wasn't enough blood (really, if you kill a guy via firing squad, there is going to be blood). It also was annoying that you already knew that Ellis/Rachel was going to survive it all, and that the whole movie was basically all a flashback --- any suspense that the movie might have had was defused completely.

    I did enjoy watching the movie, but it was definitely below my expectations....more info
  • non-stop suspense
    Great action, suspense, and terrific performance by all the leads make this a film that you can really get caught up in. It is fast-paced and perhaps too many things happen one after the other so there is no breathing room in the film between her setting up Koch as her mark and then becoming his lover and going to work for the Nazis, but her acting ability is first rate and really carries the film through any little bumps....more info
  • Stunning!
    Don't be put off by sub titles - this is one of the best films I've ever seen...more info
  • A must see movie1
    I don't want to give anytning away. The oher reviewers are saying too much about the plot, which is full of twists. A great movie, with an European sensibility, which would have never gotten made in Hollywood. At 140 minutes, there is not a dull moment. A great thriller, mystery and historical WWII movie, with no CGI baloney to ruin a perfectly acted movie. The actors carry the movie. The movie is in Dutch, German and a little English here and there, but the dialogue is never too complicated to where the subtitles are inadequate. If you want to see a great action/adventure film of the kind Hollywood can't seem to make anymore with out throwing special effects at it, this is a great, great movie. Please don't read the plot details (all ou need to know is that it is about the Duhc resistance against the Nazis), and let this move WOW you....more info
  • Good Movie
    I thought this was a pretty good movie. I wont go into a plot synopsis as many of the other reviewers here did that. The pacing at the beginning of the movie seemed to move a little slow but it picked up as the movie went along. Towards the end of the movie, I couldn't stop watching it as I was curious what was going to happen next.

    One of the things I did like about this movie was how it portrayed some of the Dutch as collaborating with the Nazis. It's pretty rare to see that in a movie. IT is even rarer to see what happens to the those folks after the liberation....more info
  • World War II story based on real facts... Don't miss it!!!
    World War II movies never cease to capture our interest as they demonstrate the worst of man-kind and this movie is simply riveting. Black Book is about a woman forced to live the horror of seeing her entire family murdered and yet continue to struggle for life and survival in Nazi occupied Holland.

    At the beginning of the film we see Rachel Stein, beautifully played by Carise Von Houten, our heroin, living with a gentile family on a farm. An allied force plane unloads its bombs to gain altitude and by mistake they destroy her refuge. This forces her to start a journey to The Hague, and she visits her family's attorney who disburses money and jewels that will help her survive for at least a year.

    Unfortunately, a group of Jews she joins is part of a Nazi ambush, and she witnesses the death of her entire family as the Gestapo not only kills but then steals all the possessions of the victims. She does get the chance to see the face of the man in charge... something she shall never forget.

    To cover her true identity she transforms into a blonde singer by the name of Ellis de Vries and infiltrates Gestapo headquarters as part of the resistance force.

    The film has many cliffhangers and on a train ride, with the Gestapo requesting papers from all passengers, she shares the cabin with the head of the SS, Captain M¨šntze, superbly played by Sebastian Koch, and he soon falls for her lively beauty. Many spell binding situations unfold and we realize that there must be a traitor amongst the resistance because they are uncovered at every turn, but we never know the true identity of the traitor. The story is complex but a clear reminder of the danger of war. Don't miss this film; it is without a doubt... magnificent!

    ...more info