The newest film by Paul Verhoeven, of 80’s action movie fame, is a great WWII thriller revolving around a rich Jewish girl on the run and her eventual role in the resistance. Carice van Houten stars as Rachel/Ellis and is a wonderful find for the film fans (American producers have taken notice and have gobbled her up in a number of upcoming films). We are introduced to Rachel in hiding in a Christian family’s wine cellar in
but is quickly forced back on the run. She eventually finds herself as part of the Dutch resistance and is asked how far she is willing to go for the cause. Dying her hair and changing her name to Ellis she finds her self deep behind enemy lines.
The movie’s twist and turns are what make this movie great so I will not share any more of the plot, but the film moves along, never slowing down as we move with Ellis on her dangerous path. The acting throughout is very good with a great turn by Sebastian Koch who some might recognize from “The Lives of Others,” as the Dutch Gestapo leader who has a direct relationship with Ellis. Thom Hoffman is also great as the right hand man to the resistance that helps to lead the group that Ellis falls into.
The film’s production value is also very high for an foreign film, selling the time period nicely and gives you a glimpse of the Nazi way of life for some of the higher officers. The film does divulge into the Holocaust or really preach the atrocities of the Nazi’s the war just serves as a great historical background for this taught thriller. I think this helps the films enjoyment and entertainment factors as it does beat you over the head with depressing material of the era and is more focused just telling a thrilling story of the time.
Anyone up for a good spy/espionage/period thriller should check this one out as it never really disappoints. It never lifts itself into the upper-echelon of films released this year, but is an entertaining ride that will engage you throughout.