Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Portrait of the artist
Rutger Hauer and Monique Van De Vem
in Turkish Delight

Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven has a lot of eclectic films on his directorial resume. The director of science fiction classics Robocop and Total Recall also directed the tawdry Showgirls? And the sexy thriller Basic Instinct was also from the director of the battlin' bugs epic Starship Troopers?

Three early films made by Verhoeven in the the Netherlands are all ones I've never seen before
Turkish Delight features Rutger Hauer as Eric, a struggling artist (aren't they all) who is more than a bit of a womanizer and has an artist's temperament to say the least. We see him kill someone early on and I thought this one going to be a kind of serial killer film, but luckily this was only a fantasy of the character. We actually meet the artist in the aftermath of his relationship with a woman named Olga who has a complex relationship with Eric to say the least. We see their times together mostly as a flashback. They love together, they fight, they break-up. Olga moves away, marries someone else, she gets divorced from that other guy, Eric and Olga get back together before Olga gets terminally ill. It's a complex relationship for certain.

Okay, that's one for Verhoeven in the Sex Drama category.

Portrait of the soldier
Ruther Hauer in Soldier of Orange

Soldier of Orange also stars Rutger Hauer in a totally different role this time in a totally different kind of film than Turkish Delight. We have a World War II drama (with Hauer as a student who becomes a soldier) featuring the various dramas of the Dutch fighting the Nazis during the war. The drama includes the fighting, romance, strategy, subterfuge and surprising change of allegiances. Like All Quiet on the Western Front, Hauer and his friends eventually go down one by one. A fine drama and I certainly haven't seen many (if any) WWII films from a Dutch perspective.

Okay, that's one for Verhoeven in the War Drama category.

Portrait of the devil in disguise
Renee Soutendijk and Jeroen Krabbe
in The Fourth Man

Finally, we have The Fourth Man (and no, no Rutger Hauer this time.) Jeroen Krabbe plays a novelist (you know he's in trouble just from that) who gets involved with a woman (Renee Soutendijk) who is exciting as anything, but dangerous and deadly as the novelist keeps getting visions of the fourth man (or number of her victim). He'd prefer victim number four isn't him. A creative thriller for sure and one with lots of religious symbolism and a female character who is definitely a forerunner of the Sharon Stone character from Basic Instinct.

Okay, that's one for Verhoeven in the thriller/suspense category.

I do appreciate a director who can do a wide variety of films, even one that directed Showgirls.

Portrait of a stripper
in Showgiirls

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