Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Black Book

Just watched Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book” last night. Long movie. 145 minutes.

The story is about a young Jewish woman in the Netherlands who becomes a spy for the resistance during World War II, when tragedy befalls her after an encounter with the Nazis.

It’s a bit similar to Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” which was also set in World War II but in Shanghai, China, where a young woman Mak is a member of a resistance group who plot to kill a Japanese collaborator, Yee, played by Tony Leung (whose balls could be seen in one sex sequence).

Mak starts a love affair with Yee for this purpose. However, she really falls in love with him, and just before her comrades try to kill him she warns him. He escapes and has the whole group executed, including Mak.

Even though it might seem like one movie has copied the other, but I think their similarities are more coincidental than intentional.

Ironically, “Lust, Caution”, a Chinese movie, has more sex scenes than “Black Book”, an ang-moh movie.

“Black Book” is great fun, an old-fashioned war movie in parts, but with deep undercurrents about fugitive Jews, the Resistance, collaborators and the messy politics of war. This being Verhoeven, there's lots of sex and a scene in which the extremely attractive star (Carice van Houten) dyes her pubic hair blond.

“Black Book” has a happy ending where the heroine settled down in Israel where she got married and had 2 kids. Whereas the heroine in “Lust, Caution”, after warning Tony Leung, the traitor, about the danger he’s in, gets executed along with the entire resistance team.

Incidentally, the actress from “Lust, Caution” Tang Wei got herself into deep trouble, she received death threats, after her bold and daring portrayal of the heroine in the movie with numerous raunchy sex scenes with Tony Leung. For this reason, she moved her ass down to Hong Kong.

The villain Ludwig Müntze played by Sebastian Koch, was also not a 100% bad guy as he tried to prevent the resistance captives from being executed. And for that, he himself got executed.

Personally, I much prefer “Black Book” to “Lust, Caution” as it is more of a thriller than the latter. “Lust, Caution” was more of a drama with tons of dialogue and less action. I also think Carice van Houten

is more beautiful than Tang Wei.

My wife prefers the latter as it has more sex scenes.


Blogger Teoh Yi Chie said...

I like both movies very much. But can't really decide which one is better. Lust Caution seems to tell the story better. The first is filled with cliches but very enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 11:43:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Happysurfer said...

Too much dialogue reminds me of the other movie, In the Mood for Love.

It's a pity that actors/actresses get threatened for the roles they play. It's only acting, for chrissake!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 12:29:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To TYC: I would enjoy Lust, Caution better if Tony Leung had his head blown off :p

to HS: i haven't watched a single Wong Kar Wai movie from beginning to end before. His movies are the arty, farty type. My wife loves his movies.

Yaloh. The China mainlanders are hypocrites. They are secretly into pornography and stuff but openly criticise and even give death threats to a Chinese actress who bares all for raunchy sex scenes in a movie :p

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 9:19:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Serene said...

i have watched and TW's armpit hair is gross can! lol

Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 8:54:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To serene: i think her bush is pretty thick too heh? :p

Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 10:08:00 AM GMT+8  

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