Dear god, how did I forget this movie? Carice van Houten's performance alone
justifies its inclusion on any list, not matter what the subject.
I must have spent a month whittling down to fifty favorites over the past decade, and it was a lot of work. I've seen a lot, and a fair amount was pretty damned good. You go back and look at everything that was left out, and you'll know what I mean. I simply didn't have room, nor does anyone. How anyone in their right minds ever came up with a list of ten that wasn't an aggregate list makes no sense to me. However, I did notice something while going over the list again with some friends (I don't generally re-read my own posts ad nauseum), and that was the exclusion of BLACK BOOK. This is completely detrimental to my whole list and actually points out the futility of such an exercise.
Paul Verhoeven is easily one of my favorite filmmakers. With the exception of HOLLOW MAN, I'm a fan for one reason or another of all of his stuff. Pulpy, erotic and oh so violent much of it is. His 2006 Jewish spy in Nazi-occupied Holland film BLACK BOOK is no exception. It has all the hallmarks of vintage Verhoeven - camp, sex, black humor, and violence - and is a remarkable achievement by any measure. And then there's the star of it all: Carice van Houten. Oh my god what a knock it out of the ballpark performance. What a commitment and embodiment of everything a good Verhoeven leading lady should be. She's all the wickedness of TOTAL RECALL and BASIC INSTINCT era Sharon Stone mixed with the unabashed willingness to go for it of SHOWGIRLS' Gina Gershon, and she's classically beautiful, too, blonde or her natural brunette. Seriously, how many mainstream actresses, foreign or domestic, would be in a movie that showed them dying their pubic hair to fool Nazi officers and both give a fantastic performance and it be a fantastic movie? Not many, I tell you.
Anyway, I just wanted to clear all that up. This one should have been in the top 25, but for some reason it wasn't. Damned lists.