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Shades (1999)

Shades is a film about (imaginary) Belgian serial killer Freddy Lebecq which producer Max Vogel, a former lawyer, is determined to make into an internationally co-produced, relatively big ... See full summary »


Erik Van Looy


Paul Breuls, Guy Lee Thys (screenplay based on his novel) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... Paul S. Sullivan
Gene Bervoets ... Max Vogel
Andrew Howard ... Dylan Cole
Mireille Leveque Mireille Leveque ... Michelle Miller
Jan Decleir ... Freddy Lebecq
Mike Verdrengh Mike Verdrengh ... Harry Koning
Hilde Van Mieghem ... Cathy
Tom Van Bauwel ... Mark Vandenbroeck
Rudolph Segers ... Crazy Mike (as Rudolf Segers)
Koen De Bouw ... Bob
Luk D'Heu Luk D'Heu ... Van Riet
Filip Peeters ... Weber
Sally-Jane Van Hoorenbeeck Sally-Jane Van Hoorenbeeck ... Lily
Gert Lahousse Gert Lahousse ... Peter
Tine Reymer Tine Reymer ... Bianca


Shades is a film about (imaginary) Belgian serial killer Freddy Lebecq which producer Max Vogel, a former lawyer, is determined to make into an internationally co-produced, relatively big budget-production Hollywood style, with a director from the States. To that end he cuts deals with and often behind the backs of just about everybody, including Lebeq -who has the book rights-, his lawyer who hopes to use proceeds donated to the relatives to facilitate early release, even the victims, always trying to get the media circus to yield priceless publicity. However not only the lead actor proves a loose canon, even Lebecq ends up killing his lawyer and escaping, when he believes the movie is hurting his case ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Comedy


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Dutch | English

Release Date:

15 October 1999 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Reflexos de um Assassino See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Corsan, Great Cat See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Erik Van Looy is an avid RAFC supporter (a club in Belgian second division) and he likes to mention this in interviews and put tiny references in his movies (in "De Zaak Alzheimer" for example he made Gene Bervoets whistle the club anthem). In Shades you hear an announcement over the car radio saying the first (new) derby between RAFC and rival club Germinal Beerschot ended 3-0. Wishful thinking on the part of Van Looy as it turned out, because the game (played in 2000) ended 1-2. See more »


References Marathon Man (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

Mickey Rourke dishes on Hollywood
26 November 2013 | by CharlotteBronte66See all my reviews

I honestly don't understand why everyone hates this movie. I can see why Mickey Rourke took the project. This film came onto my radar because I am a "foreign film" fan and I thought, "hell, Mickey Rourke is in it...it can't be all bad." So I ordered it.

I was pleasantly surprised. It was an exploration of the film business as a business. That's what this film is about, ultimately. It isn't about anything else. The plot line is simply a hook to get people to watch it -- this is a movie about what it's like to make a movie, and more importantly, what it takes to make it in "Hollyood".

I took 2 stars away from the total because Bervoets is so annoying that he makes me want to enter menopause early and get it over with.

After watching the film, I understood completely why Mickey Rourke did the movie (and it wasn't just for the job or the money, which he probably desperately needed at the time.) Mickey carries the film, cast and crew (including make up artists and key grips all the way through from beginning to end. This film is a lesson in "Hollywood-ese" and "Hollywood Bullshit".

It was probably cathartic for Rourke to do it, to experience, even if it is just in a very small way, what it's like to have to direct himself! He saw it as an opportunity in therapy, to walk a mile in another mans shoes. He also got the experience of telling the truth about where his career was at, at the time. (Scene: "Look, there's a reason you and I are here in Belgium, doing this little movie and it's cuz we're not on top anymore" (or something to that effect.)

His scene with Michelle in his hotel room where he tells her to cut it out, and that at the "end of the day, you'll just be a two dollar whore" is spot on the money. And he's clearly not justtalking about actresses, or even the movie business in general. (Although that was probably his "motivation", if you will forgive the reference.) He's talking about YOU, or ME, or anyone, who does what they do, so they can just take the next rung on the ladder. When he tells Lily, the makeup artist, not to sleep with the star, his voice has the ring of truth to it...the sound of a man who's seen it all before: a crew member with stars in her eyes about to get used and abused by a "leading man". He looks at her with true pity and compassion --- like someone who has already seen the outcome of such a situation and he's genuinely trying to spare her the pain, because he thinks she's actually a nice person who probably doesn't deserve it.

In an interview with 'Inside the Actor's Studio", Mickey Rourke said that if he hadn't been an actor, he would have probably been a contractor (i.e. construction). Truly, there is a God, since that did NOT happen. Thank you God, for giving us Mickey Rourke.

I have not found any proof of what I am about to say, but I would be willing to lay down a paycheck, that Mickey Rourke not only had a hand in the script, but that he also "consulted" on this movie, for the actual director, in how the "real world" of Hollywood "works".

Mickey has to be the most under-valued, under-rated and un-appreciated actors/thespians of all time, and all because he refuses to bow to the golden calf that is the Academy. God bless Mickey Rourke....he's not just another artist. He's a true Artist, capital A, in a world of mediocre assholes (captial A) This movie proved it. What a waste.

Decent script, but Mickey Rourke carries the whole movie. And you will probably enjoy it, if you want to know what film-making and the politics and the bullshit are all about. This film will give it to you, on a silver platter, served by Mickey Rourke. Good on ya Mickey. (PS --nice little scene also, with Loki, Mickey's favorite dog...she has a nice cameo!)

I hope you take the chance on this one. I'm not sure what Mickey Rourke himself thinks of it, but if he ever sees this, I hope he will take my compliment in the spirit its intended: F'em , Mickey. You're right, and they're wrong. And you told the truth. God bless ya!

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