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Black Book (2006)
"Zwartboek" (original title)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 52,732 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 228 user | 229 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance.

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Title: Black Book (2006)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 14 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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Ronnie
...
...
...
General Käutner
Dolf de Vries ...
Notary Wim Smaal
Peter Blok ...
Van Gein
...
Rob
Ronald Armbrust ...
Tim Kuipers
Frank Lammers ...
Kees
...
Joop
...
Theo
Xander Straat ...
Maarten
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Storyline

Israel 1956. Rachel, a Jew, rather unexpectedly meets an old friend at the kibbutz where she is working as a teacher. It brings back memories of her experiences in The Netherlands during the war, memories of betrayal. September 1944. Rachel is in trouble when her hiding place is bombed by allied troops. She gets in contact with a man from the resistance and joins a group of Jews who are to be smuggled across the Biesbosch by boat to the freed South Netherlands. Germans from a patrol boat murder them all however. Only Rachel is able to escape. She is rescued by a resistance group under the leadership of Gerben Kuipers. When Kuipers' son is captured after trying to smuggle weapons, he asks Rachel to seduce SS-hauptsturmführer Ludwig Müntze. Soon she will find out the attack in the Biesbosch wasn't a coincidence. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

resistance | hiding | boat | escape | nazi | See more »

Taglines:

To fight the enemy, she must become one of them.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, graphic nudity, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

14 September 2006 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Black Book  »

Box Office

Budget:

$21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$112,521 (USA) (6 April 2007)

Gross:

$4,398,392 (USA) (17 August 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barry Atsma auditioned for the role of Hans Akkermans, which was eventually portrayed by Thom Hoffman. See more »

Goofs

During the gala party held at German headquarters, the drummer is playing a natural wood-finish Premier (British) drum set manufactured in the 1980's-1990's. A period drum set from the mid 1940's would probably have been a white-pearl finish and the drum sizes, hardware and positioning would have been altogether different. See more »

Quotes

Rachel Stein aka Ellis de Vries: Does it never end?
See more »

Connections

Edited into Zwartboek: The Special (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Divertimento in D Major
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Sometimes, You Have to Hide in Plain Sight...
26 October 2006 | by (Minneapolis, USA) – See all my reviews

Who said that they don't make films like they used to? A couple of weeks ago, I declared that "The Departed" was the best film of 2006. Last week, I replaced the Scorsese epic with Sofia Coppola's luscious biopic of "Marie Antoinette". I never would have guessed that Paul Verhoeven (Yes, the Paul Verhoeven who directed "Total Recall", "Basic Instinct" & "Showgirls"!!!) would challenge them both with a gripping, edge-of-your-seat World War II yarn.

I use the old-fashioned term, yarn, because "Black Book" is very much a film that feels like it was made decades ago. The lush visuals, orchestral music, European styling, wartime romanticism and cliffhanging chapters all add a certain 1950's charm to the white-knuckle plot. One gets the feeling that the ghosts of Gregory Peck, Hedy Lamarr, Ava Gardner, Spencer Tracy & Jean Harlow are embodying the cast of this classic espionage drama.

The film begins in 1956 with Rachel Steinn, a school teacher at an Israeli kibbutz, being accidentally found by an old acquaintance, who is on vacation with her husband. The meeting brings back painful wartime memories and Rachel heads to a quiet place by the river to recollect our central story.

So back we travel, to occupied Holland, circa 1944, and we see a more youthful Rachel, diligently practicing a bible passage in order to earn a meal from the family who is hiding her from the Germans. She, like many Jews at that time, were surviving by any means necessary in order to outlast the Nazi tyranny. However, one day, while flirting with a young man sailing on the nearby lake, her safe zone is destroyed in one fell swoop by a low flying bomber. Rachel is immediately on the run, aided by her new sailor friend.

So much of this film relies on surprises and shocking twists that it would be unfair of me to detail too many plot threads. And my goodness, there are a tons of them. This is truly a definitive epic, in every cinematic sense of the word. Rachel is crossed and doubled-crossed and triple-crossed, eventually winding up as a member of the famed Resistance. Via cunning and fortunate circumstance, she manages to transform herself into Ellis de Vries, a blond bombshell who infiltrates the German command in the area. She uses a quick wit, a gorgeous voice, some feminine charms and a collection of Queen Wilhelmina stamps to crawl her way into the arms of Herr Müntze (Sebastian Koch).

From deep within the Nazi camp, she is able to strategically plant a microphone and to use tidbits of acquired knowledge in order to provide the Resistance with vital information and plans. While evolving into a brave spy, she must learn how to reconcile her own personal vendettas and her surprising romantic feelings for Müntze.

There are no more exciting themes for me in movies than tragic romance, espionage and escape. I have loved them all with a passion ever since I was a small child. Throw in a magnificent screenplay, marvelous cinematography, a plot that churns along with the efficiency of a Swiss watch, and the added bonus of a gorgeous actress -- the result is sure to be a huge winner for me. "Black Book" satisfies everything that I truly want from a film. It is the reason I go to the movies. I was utterly swept away by the intrigue, drama, romance and tragedy. This emotionally weighty film even manages to deliver a few wonderfully witty moments to break the supreme tension of it all.

The cast is immense. Every one of them exudes authenticity. It is one of the best ensembles of the year. However, I struggle to call it an ensemble because it would be ignoring one of the singular performances in recent memory. Carice Van Houten is not a household name to most. She is a Dutch beauty who, if this role is anything to go by, is on the verge of a magnificent career. Her grasp on the emotional turmoil of Rachel/Ellis is of profound proportions. It is a stunning turn that flatly demands award consideration. The range on display in this movie is astonishing. Rarely have I ever been as moved by a character's heroism and charm and guile and wits. She is able to create a sympathetic creature... one that we will root for until the end... one that we trust and believe in.

I cannot leave this review without admitting to my utter admiration for Paul Verhoeven, a director whose films I have often enjoyed and panned in equal measures. This is the work of his lifetime. It is the film he should list above all others on his résumé. This is a thoughtful, poignant and tremendously thrilling adventure. For attentive viewers, the final scenes of the film act as a provocative meditation on the relationships between war and justice, peace and insularity, the actions of the past and the promises of the future. "Black Book (Zwartboek)" is not only a riveting WWII adventure, but a superb contrast of morality -vs- reality.

TC Candler IndependentCritics.com


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Terrible even for Verhoeven benettfreeman
Did America sit out that war? fun_cycle
Carice Van Houten is unbelievably beautiful imdb-708-912344
The Dutch praise their own no matter what. Stickatheist
She didn't learn anything... Unitedite
did Ellis speak Dutch or German to Muntze? DonCorleone123
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