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Genre: War/Thriller
Starring: Carice Van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus, Derek de Lint
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes & Violence)
Year Made: 2006







Languages: Dutch, German & Israeli
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 2 hrs 25 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment
Official Website:




Holland 1944 - the final years of WWII finds the beautiful singer Rachel Stein taking refuge with a family in rural Holland. Once a popular and wealthy singer, Rachel has been waiting out the war like many Jews in Europe, separated from her family and a moment away from being caught by the Gestapo. In a chain of events, Rachel joins the Dutch resistance forces and uncovers trails of deceit and deception pointing to compatriots she once counted as her closest friends.


If you thought Wong Chia Chi from Ang Lee’s acclaimed espionage drama thriller Lust, Caution had it bad with all the painful looking lovemaking she had to do with the enemy, wait till you see what Rachel Stein has to go through in this 2006 film set in the final years of World War II.

We follow the young Dutch Jewish girl as she goes through trials and tribulations during the horrific moments of war. Just as she narrowly survives the war in Holland, trouble looks for her when she decides to join the resistance force to find out who betrayed her family. The poor girl soon joins the enemy and gets misunderstood by her comrades. The rest of the film sees our heroine trying to find ways to prove her innocence and to find the real betrayer.

Given a plot like that, you can expect twists and turns around every corner. And for a picture that runs at a lengthy 145 minutes, it takes a capable director to keep the viewers interested in the story developments. Thankfully, Holland born Paul Verhoeven does a competent job of keeping us engaged – who would have thought that this is the same man who gave us Basic Instinct (1992) and gasp, the terribly panned Showgirls (1995)?

The storytelling keeps you at the edge of your seats because you’ll care for the fate of the protagonist. Every risky move she makes, every mishap she suffers from, every close shave she escapes – you’d want her to survive. And this role is also skillfully played by the luminous Carice van Houten, who was nominated and won several awards for her portrayal of the long suffering Rachel Stein. Whether it’s the scene where she performs a song for the enemies, or the scene where she places a spy radio behind the commander’s safe, or the scene where she is humiliated with bucketfuls of human waste (told you Wong Chia Chi had it easy), you’ll want her to survive each and every of these ordeals.

That is also probably when you know this BAFTA nominated film has worked. The all round intense performances by the cast have captivated you. The attention paid to historical details has awed you. The cinematic effect of the brutalities of war as played out on widescreen has affected you. Throw in elements of the somewhat exploitative sex and violence (presto, you get a M18 rating for this), and you’d find yourself immensely enjoying this epic.


This Code 3 disc contains no special features.


The film is presented in its original Dutch, German and Israeli Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, and although the visual transfer isn’t fantastic, it’s good enough for your average home entertainment collection.



Review by John Li


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This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


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