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Cast: Carice van Houten, Sebastian Koch, Thom Hoffman, Halina Reijn, Waldemar Kobus, Derek de Lint, Christian Berkel, Dolf de Vries, Peter Blok, Michiel Huisman, Ronald Armbrust
Rachel is a Jewish teacher reflecting on her experiences in the war. During the war she eluded death when Germanís bomb her hiding place then kill all those she meets up with to escape by boat. Then she is taken in by the Netherlands resistance and used as a tool in a plot to aid the resistances rescue one of their comrades but soon loyalties are tested and Rachel realises that what side youíre on doesnít come into it.
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Cinemaís obsession with the Second World War doesnít seem to be abating even after over half a century. It is a topic usually treated with respect, but shown in a stark reality that often shocks and compels. Knowing this, it seems surprising that director Paul Verhoeven, known mostly for his glossy often sexual thrillers, would undertake a drama set during this period.
Being Dutch however one could perceive that this story about Dutch resistance is one close to his heart, though that can only be answered by the man himself. What we are left with is a marriage of his recognisable style which gives a strange zeal to a war story about betrayal, loyalty and survival.
Black Book is an episode in the exploits of a particular faction of the Dutch resistance told from the point of view of Rachel, a Jew who at the start of the film is visiting Israel when she bumps into an old friend who reminds her of her life during the war. She begins to think back and we pick it up as she is in refuge with a family on a farm in the Dutch countryside.
During a bombing everyone on the farm is killed and with the help of neighbours flees the Naziís that have been alerted to her presence and are hunting her down. A local policeman assists her escape, along with a number of other Jews including the rest of Rachelís family. Again, Rachel cheats death when Naziís ambush the boat they are making their flight in. Everyone else is killed and the Naziís even loot the corpses.
Found by the resistance they smuggle her into The Hague, the area of Holland where they are based. She becomes a part of their schemes to smuggle in allied guns and rations but when one of their clan, leader Gerben Kuiperís son Tim, is arrested after crashing a van of arms their ambitions change into a rescue mission. Rachel utilises her talents as a singer to perform at Nazi chiefs various parties.