Archive for the ‘Flanders’ Category

Review after three episodes (six more to go) – *(*)

Part fantasy horror film, part mystery thriller. The first three episodes are confusing. Which is the whole point. The main character has amnesia, but is the key witness in the disappearance of Thomas De Geest. She’s been interred into a psychiatric hospital and gets questioned by both her shrink and a detective. She’s an odd woman. She claims to have amnesia, but the viewer gets to see all kinds of memories in flashback. Why? She’s clearly lying to the shrink and the detective as she remembers snippets of what happened to her in the past and then claims to not know anything. But why?

There are nine episodes. It was a big success on television. It has a lot of renowned actors in the cast. And it is somehow intriguing. Maybe it’s worth watching it until the end. But my god, is it boring. And slow. And the set design is terrible. Several scenes don’t make sense. Give me realism over fantasy anytime. There is no suspense, just weird scary scenes stolen from the vast catalogue of horror movies. Even if you’re not a fantasy film lover, it all feels like it’s been done before a zillion times. A haunted house, a devilish child, electricity blackouts, cape wearing figures, scary dolls, a mysterious man in the forest. Add a cheating husband, a sexually comfortable sixty year old, a foreign looking caretaker/gigolo, weird patients in the psychiatric ward, etc… It’s a mess.

Review after nine episodes – *(*)

So yes, it’s worth watching the series until the end. The final episode does have some surprises in store. But you can’t really talk about a plot twist. The actual plottwist happens at the end of episode 5. It’s not a big surprise for the viewer, but it kind of changes the series from a fantasy thriller to a regular detective drama. The flashbacks are no longer memories of the main character, but rather added for the viewer’s benefit. Which feels like an inconsistency. The acting is ok. But it’s so boring at times. And all these hyped kudos to the director for showing a) depth to the characters and b) beauty in the visuals. Bull. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the scenes look messy. Also, the way psychiatry is depicted here, is terrible. It’s stereotypical and unoriginal.

Sometimes, a hype is only a hype if you want it to be.


The most hyped movie of the year is a disappointment. It’s a fun ride, but it’s not that all that spectacular. It’s like a rollercoaster that doesn’t really give you the thrills you want. Even though it has its highs and its lows. A rollercoaster ride needs to speed up all the time. When it slows down, it’s to gain power and energy to go up again. That’s not the case here.

The lows:

  • “Kind of Based On True Shit”. Okay, cool tag line. But it’s very basic shit. The story has been told a zillion times before. Small criminals decide to mingle with the big league and things go wrong.
  • The Typography. That movie poster title looks really bad. And it comes back in the movie.
  • The visual references to video games. We get it, they love playing video games, but to make certain scenes in the movie look like part of a video game doesn’t work.
  • The Narration by the main character. Annoying. The North African Antwerp accent is terrible, but it’s especially the monotonous tone in which the story is told.
  • Matteo Simoni. Great actor. Totally miscast.
  • The use of street slang that nobody has ever heard before. It’s going to be a challenge for those countries that dub movies and for those that need subtitles.


  • The Dutch actors. Werner Kolf and Ali B. Both remarkable as rivaling gang leaders.
  • The end credits. When you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand.
  • The reverse ‘how drugs got to the drug user’ scene. Could have lasted longer, but good. In fact, the visual experience is entertaining.
  • Some of the one liners and dialogue. Again, especially by the Dutch.
  • The soundtrack. From the EBM to the Dutch pop rap to the Moroccan club track and the instrumental score… it works.
  • Antwerp! This city needs to be in more movies. Maybe in the next James Bond movie. Who knows.
  • The two lawyers. They just have a cameo, but they should get a tv series.

It’s the kind of movie you watch on a cheap long distance bus ride in India, South Africa or Brazil. This is really a BAD action comedy. But shot in a really cool way. Too much trying to be Tarantino and not quite getting to the next level shit.

Third installment in a trilogy about the two detectives Vincke and Verstuyft. Based on the books by Jef Geeraerts.  This time the duo needs to investigate a serial murder case after six headless bodies were found. They clash for the first time on how the research is done.

Yes, it’s not as good as the first one (De Zaak Alzheimer) or the second one (Dossier K), but it’s not as bad as reviews claim. The story is bad. Sure. In fact, it’s really bad. But you only realize that when the movie is over and the murderer has been identified. During the movie there is some suspense and some kind of hope for an original twist. But when the end credits roll it feels like you just watched a very unoriginal, predictable episode of some CSI rip off tv series. 

Four great actors stuck in one setting. It’s almost like a theatre play on stage. But it’s not. It’s a movie. And even though the idea is good, the execution kind of bores. Two factory workers break into the house of their boss and take him hostage. They thought they had planned it well. But things start getting all messed up when his (secret) mistress arrives unexpectedly. Who turns out to be the daughter of one of the attackers! Moreover, because of an electricity power outage, other plans can’t be executed and the four are stuck in the house for the entire weekend! So it seems.

It’s over before you know it. So, it’s not that bad. Just proves that a good idea does not necessarily make a good movie. But the acting is good. And some one-liners are fun. If you understand Flemish. The dvd has English subtitles though. 


Sprakeloos – **

Posted: March 24, 2017 in 2017, Drama, Flanders, LGBT themed, XX

Based on a popular book by one of the most successful Flemish writers, Sprakeloos (speechless) tells the story of a writer who has to come to terms with the emotional and physical decline of his mother after a devastating stroke. The concern for his mother is paired with anger and frustration.

The movie isn’t a success. Critics slammed it. Those who’ve read the book and seen the movie don’t like the interpretation of the story. But hey, the writer liked it. And I liked it too. More than a story about a very dramatic butcher’s wife/amateur actress who loses her speech (and rationality), it’s the story of the love/hate relationship of a son who looks a lot like his mother.

Yes, it’s flawed. But it’s well acted by Viviane De Muynck and Marie Vinck as the old and young butcher’s wife. And Stany Crets as the writer. The movie constantly swaps back and forth in time, a bit like what they do in This Is Us, and that keeps it going. It’s too bad it won’t get the audience that it deserves.

The remarkable thing about this new police thriller from Belgium is that it starts of really well and then falls totally flat by the end. Sadly, because the trailer looks promising.

A notorious chief of police is retiring to start a political career. But on the eve of his retirement he is tempted to do one last drug bust.  Not in the city of his jurisdiction (Antwerp), but in Charleroi. However, something is wrong. No drug lab is found. No drugs are found. A lot of people get killed and the informant seems to have damaging information about the soon to be politician. This does not look good…

Again, the movie starts of great. The tension and intrigue are built up well. The acting is good (Peter Van Den Begin is excellent in these kind of roles). Some of the scenes are shot in unique ways. The editing is excellent. The story lends well to an interesting collaboration between the movie industries from the north (Flanders) and the south (Wallonia) of the country.

But it’s all a bit predictable, and as the story comes to a climax it totally bombs.

Halfweg (Halfway) – *(*)

Posted: February 5, 2017 in 2014, Drama, Flanders, Horror, X1/2

An architect who just got divorced, moves into a beautiful art nouveau villa. But the house is haunted. The previous owner still roams around and isn’t too happy with this new person moving in. He can influence the electricity in the house and uses it to make it hell for the new owner.

The synopsis sounds like yet another haunted house movie, but this is different. First of all, it’s Flemish and the movie was made with a low budget. Secondly, the dialogue is uttered like the actors were telling the story on stage and not on the big screen. And finally, there is little suspense and no horror at all. Some humor and some psychological drama, yes. After all, nobody believes the architect when he talks about the other guy living in his house.

The architect is played by Koen DeGraeve who again shows that he’s a great actor. His antagonist is played by Jurgen Delnait who again shows why he isn’t cast all that much. His performance is annoying, which kind of makes the movie annoying at times.

But stick to the end. The humor becomes more absurd.