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Added by johanlefourbe on 5 Sep 2017 02:19
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A Complete Review of Alex van Warmerdam's work

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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.7


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe, Henri Garcin

What was it about?
On his birthday, a hitman reluctantly takes on the easy task of killing a writer, only to find the job a lot more difficult than expected.

My two cents:
Some people might say that they love van Warmerdam's unique way to throw in some absurdism in his pictures but, personally, what I enjoy the most is his humor. Indeed, the tone is always pitch-black, filled with witty oneliners and some really funny dialogue. Basically, I think his movies are just hilarious even if the characters themselves are not really funny. Anyway, this time, he made almost a straightforward picture which was less ambitious but definitely more accessible than 'Borgman'. To be honest, even though I have definitely a weak spot for this director, the same things keep bothering me though. Indeed, between the weird things going on, I keep thinking that the guy doesn’t really care much about the plot or the characters involved and, as a result, I always find it difficult to really care about the whole thing. Still, Alex van Warmerdam remains one of the only Dutch directors to bring something really interesting nowadays and his last directing effort is definitely worth a look.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 113 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
Borgman (2013)


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe

What was it about?
A vagrant enters the lives of an arrogant upper-class family, turning their lives into a psychological nightmare in the process.

My two cents:
Ever since I moved to the Netherlands, I have watched many Dutch movies but, honestly, most of them are not really interesting. However, all the members of my film club were really enthusiast about this guy, Alex van Warmerdam, so I became really curious about his work. Eventually, I wasn’t disappointed. Indeed, even though, at that point, I had seen only this movie so far, he already reached my top 5 best Dutch movie directors ever. The point is that his style is just really original, something terribly lacking in your typical Dutch movie, and this flick would be actually really difficult to explain. Basically, van Warmerdam, who has a nice visual style on top of that, seemingly mixes dark comedy with some thriller elements and some rather random violence and the end-result was pretty impressive. The main issue I had is that I don’t think he really cared about the characters. I mean, he put them in some really weird situations and they all react rather randomly which made the whole thing intriguing but also rather pointless. If you add the fact that there was no real plot whatsoever, the whole thing felt rather unsubstantial. Still, there was a lot of hilarious moments and the whole thing was pretty bold, that's for sure.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe

What was it about?
A woman living in a large country home drives her servants to mutiny with her outrageous demands as she waits for death to come for her.

My two cents:
With this movie, the first thing I enjoyed was how van Warmerdam had improved as a director. Indeed, this movie was very well directed, especially visually speaking, and it seemed that the guy had finally reached his top in this area. The other thing I enjoyed was that, even though it was still really abstract, I wouldn't expect anything else from this director, he still seriously toned down his usual weirdness which made the whole thing much more accessible. And, yet, even if I enjoyed this movie, to be honest, it was still not much more than a decent watch. I don't know, with his director, I always end up with the feeling that he spends too much time creating a weird asburd mood and not enough on the characters who always seem to be stuck more or less against their will in his sick little tales. Still, van Warmerdam remains a very interesting director and one of the very few, or maybe even the only Dutch director, who has managed to create his very own style.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7
Waiter (2006)


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Thekla Reuten

What was it about?
Edgar is a waiter in a mediocre restaurant, where clients and even his mistress prove abusive, while his sick wife and criminal neighbors are no better. How bad it gets is a matter of discussion.

My two cents:
Since ‘Grimm’ turned out to be rather disappointing, I did lower my expectations for this movie. Fortunately, Alex van Warmerdam made a nice come-back with this movie and, even though it was still far from being his best movie, I still enjoyed most of it. Basically, it all started as a rather average tale about an average guy who was working as a waiter but, apparently, van Warmerdam was aware that this tale was pretty weak so he added a layer of metafiction on top of it. Well, even though the meta thing was pretty neat, the whole thing became seriously random and, with these scenes, it was rather hit and miss, to be honest. For example, sure, it was pretty neat that the writer would get involved in his own story but his girlfriend as well? Finally, the whole relationship between Edgar and Victoria was just rather annoying and frustrating and went completely nowhere. Still, there were some really funny bits here and there and it was really neat that Alex van Warmerdam himself was again playing the lead.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.3
Grimm (2003)


Cast : Halina Reijn, Annet Malherbe, Frank Lammers, Henri Garcin

What was it about?
One winter's day Jacob and his sister Marie are left behind in the woods by their unemployed father. In his coat Jacob finds a note from his mother urging them to go to their uncle in Spain. They arrive in Spain only to find that their uncle has died. Marie meets Diego, a rich surgeon, and falls in love with him.

My two cents:
After ‘Klein Teun’, Alex van Warmerdam took his time and, 5 years later, he finally came up with a new directing effort but, unfortunately, it turned out to be his weakest movie so far, I’m afraid. At least, the DVD I watched was of much better quality than the DVDs I saw for his previous movies and it was pretty neat that half of the movie was taking place outside of the Netherlands which was a first for van Warmerdam. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only things I enjoyed about this movie. Eventually, what bothered me the most were the huge ellipses that they would make. For example, at some point, Maria and Jacob ends up in some town and, then, completely out of the blue, they seemed to be living in some homeless tent under a bridge. That was something that kept occurring throughout the whole thing and I thought it was just so lazy and annoying. On top of that, I never really cared about the story or the characters involved. Anyway, even though it was the first really disappointing movie delivered by this director so far, it was still a decent watch.

My rating: 6/10

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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Kleine Teun (1998)


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe

What was it about?
Farmer Brand can't read and he is quite happy with that. His wife, Keet, who has to read him all the subtitles on the television, isn't. She decides to hire a teacher for him. This is a beautiful young woman, called Lena. Brand falls in love with her. To his puzzlement and dismay Keet encourages him, because as she says she doesn't want a husband with another woman in his head.

My two cents:
Since I really loved ‘De jurk’, I was really eager to check Alex van Warmerdam’s following directing effort. Well, unfortunately, even though it was a decent watch, it still turned out to be a big step down from his previous work. As usual, there was no real plot but some rather weird and absurd tale which can be rather tiresome to watch but, this time around, the whole thing was even more minimalist then usual with only one location and only 3 characters involved. To make things worse, I didn’t really care much for these characters and, while some of van Warmerdam’s movies can be quite hilarious, the whole thing was not so much fun, even if some scenes still made me chuckle. At least, it was really nice that Alex van Warmerdam and his wife, Annet Malherbe, were playing the leads for once. On top of that, Annet Malherbe was just really good in this movie and she has definitely become one of my favorite Dutch actress.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
The Dress (1996)


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe, Henri Garcin, Peter Blok, Jack Wouterse, Ricky Koole, Susan Visser, Mimoun Oaïssa

What was it about?
Conceived under a cloud of frustration and despair, the dress serves as the hub in a great wheel of misfortune in an extraordinary sequence of events that envelopes both the dress and those fatefully drawn into its universe.

My two cents:
Among all the movies delivered by this director, even though I enjoyed all of them, there was always something missing to really blow me away. With this in mind, since this movie had a much lower rating than his previous movies, I had lower my expectations but, eventually, it turned out to be the best movie I have seen from this director. First of all, I always thought that van Warmerdan’s movies were quite funny but this one was just so hilarious and I’m pretty sure it is the most hilarious Dutch movie I have ever seen. Seriously, the first 20 minutes were just so funny, it was pretty much pitch-perfect. As usual with this director, the dialogues were pretty neat but, here, they were even better and pretty much always spot on. Concerning the story, sure, it was pretty random but I thought it worked really well. Basically, it was some kind of hyperlink feature with many small stories linked to some completely random dress but I thought it was much more enjoyable than the other abstract tales usually delivered by the Dutch director.

My rating: 8/10

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People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5


Cast : Jack Wouterse, Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe, Henri Garcin, Theo van Gogh

What was it about?
In a small village, people's lives intersect frequently and in unexpected ways. Plagge, a postal worker who spies on other locals by reading their mail. His breaches of privacy expose the numerous secrets that the people in town keep.

My two cents:
The first thing I enjoyed about this movie was how much van Warmerdam had improved as a director. Indeed, the whole thing looked so much better than ‘Abel’ and, even if it was still nothing amazing visually speaking, it was really well made. The other thing I really enjoyed was the location chosen by van Warmerdam. Indeed, it was staking place in some kind of failed housing development and even though it was built only a few years before, it already looked like a ghost town which was just so surreal. Still, even though the beginning was therefore really promising, I have to admit that, after a while, I had a rather hard time to really connect with the damned thing. I mean, I wasn’t really bothered by the randomness of the whole thing, by now, I’m used to it with this director. Eventually, what bothered more was that, even though it was once again quite hilarious, I thought it was sometimes rather sad and even mean, especially regarding Thomas. Still, even if it didn’t completely work me, it was still a solid absurd comedy.

My rating: 7/10

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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
Abel (1986)


Cast : Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe, Henri Garcin

What was it about?
After failing with doctors and psychiatrists, Abel's father Victor brings home Christine, a friend, in an attempt to teach Abel basic social skills. But Victor's wife Duif accuses him of having an affair, and in the ensuing row Abel is thrown out into the street. But help is at hand when he runs into kind-hearted stripper Zus - whose show Victor is obsessed with...

My two cents:
Since it was Alex van Warmerdam’s directing debut, I was really eager to check this flick. On top of that, it is a huge classic in Dutch cinema so I had some rather high expectations. Well, to be honest, I had a rather hard time to get into the damned thing. As usual with this director, it was all seriously random and, at first, I didn’t care much about the characters who were rather unlikeable and uninteresting. To make things worse, the whole thing looked terribly cheap and fake and I was rather annoyed by how poorly the sound was recorded. Fortunately, it slowly grew on me and, after a while, I was finally able to have a lot of fun with this dysfunctional family. Indeed, what I love the most about Alex van Warmerdam, it’s his unique absurd sense of humor and this movie was often just so hilarious. I was also amazed by how gorgeous Annet Malherbe was back in those days. It’s such a shame that, except for its awesome humor, I’m afraid I don’t care much about what else van Warmerdam has to offer in his movies. Anyway, even if it didn’t turn out to be a massive masterpiece like I was hoping for, I still enjoyed it a lot.

My rating: 7/10

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Since I have finally managed to watch all the movies directed by Alex van Warmerdam, I thought I should make one of these lists for these guys as well.

Enjoy!


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A Complete Review of various directors' work (46 lists)
list by johanlefourbe
Published 5 years, 4 months ago 7 comments



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