May 3, 2007

Soldier Of Orange (Verhoeven, 1977)

The perfect companion piece to Black Book, and also the superior film. Verhoeven's first examination of trust and betrayal during wartime chooses friendship rather than sex as its prevailing motif, and the story of six friends pulled in different directions at the outbreak of WWII is more epic in scale and more narratively diverse, and thus a bit more interesting. Verhoeven's film is a curious war epic, mostly because the war he depicts isn't fought on the battlefield with bullets, but rather in small rooms, behind closed doors, with covert messages. Once again, there are a stable of rich characters and scenarios for us to follow. However, viewing this film shortly after having seen Black Book elucidates a peculiar shortcoming of Verhoeven, namely his inexplicable refusal (or perhaps inability) to devote sufficient time to developing certain thematically complex subplots. In spite of this, Soldier of Orange remains a dense, compelling and unique look at war, and possibly Verhoeven's most disciplined film.

No comments: