Niet Schieten – ***

Posted: October 21, 2018 in 2018, Belgium, Drama, Flanders, XXX

On November 9th, 1985 several people got shot at a local supermarket in the Flemish town of Aalst. It was the last of a series of attacks that were allegedly done by a gang called ‘De Bende van Nijvel’ (in Dutch) or ‘Les Tueurs de Brabant’ (in French). After all, this happened in Belgium, the bilingual mess it is.

Thirty-something years later, they still haven’t figured out who this gang is and the victims of the attacks still haven’t received any financial help whatsoever. It’s a disgrace.

A young boy survived the attack. He saw how his parents and sister were killed. He saw one of the attackers, but was never questioned by any authority. He himself was shot and learned how to live with a disability. He was raised by his grand-parents who lived across the supermarket and also had some important information that could have been investigated more thoroughly.

That kid, became a man who wrote a book about his struggle and the frustration about the failure of the justice system. That book has now been made into a movie. It’s a good one. It’s well-directed and very well acted. The main character isn’t the boy (played by three different actors at three different periods in their life), but is the grandfather, played by one of our best actors: Jan Decleir. He’s phenomenal. The movie is quite captivating and doesn’t shy away from showing the actual killing. It’s never sensational though and it’s brought with a lot of respect to the victims. Some emotions are told by images rather than dialogue, which works great.

By the end of the movie though, the frustration felt by the characters also transfers to the audience. This is a story without an end. A crime without a punishment. A killing without a murderer’s name. This isn’t Hercule Poirot solving a crime. This is a family learning to accept that they will never know who took the lives of their beloved ones. There is no happy end here.

Watch it. And feel upset and angry. That’s exactly the goal of this movie.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7534314

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