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...
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An artist, a school girl, a maid, a train conductor and a business executive are drawn into a great wheel of misfortune as all their lives are touched by the existence of one very particular summer dress.
Alex van Warmerdam
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 ... See full summary »
Alex van Warmerdam
Alex van Warmerdam,
Patrick (38) lives with his parents on a naturist campsite. When his father dies he finds himself in charge, but has lost his favorite hammer. His search becomes an existential quest, when a hammer is used in a break-in crime.
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. Diego lives with his domineering sister Teresa. Marie marries Diego. Jacob keeps jealously trying to tear his sister away from Diego. His efforts are in vain and Jacob starts to provoke Diego. It soon becomes clear that Jacob's defiance won't go unpunished...Written by
Director Alex van Warmerdam hated the original cut of the film that was edited by Stefan Kamp, and has since excluded it from every retrospective and DVD box-set of his collected works. As an experiment, he started to re-edit a few scenes on video with Job ter Burg, his regular editor since The Last Days of Emma Blank (2009). The result was so satisfying that they secured time and budget to re-edit the entire movie over a period of four years. The new version was released at the 2019 Dutch Film Festival, and received a new theatrical run. Van Warmerdam has been quoted as saying that viewers should throw the old cut of the film in the trashcan. See more »
This film has a rather impressive billing, with the version I rented stated "siblings Jacob and Marie embark on a surreal, often night-marrish odyssey." The movie starts out Hansel and Gretel-esquire in that regard, but doesn't move much further. There is a journey to be had, if one is interested in following two characters whom they know little about through different cities where they meet different people. The meetings have very little value to them, however, and the characters often meet conflict that is unexplained. Furthermore, movement between locales is poorly motivated and a unified agenda never sets imposes itself. If these meetings were accompanied by the surrealism that the movie billing suggests, I could have still walked away happily, but unfortunately the surrealism in the meetings is itself limited because much of what could have made a scene eerie is left unaddressed. As far as the comedy, the movie fails to win stars in that department as well. There are two or three hilarious encounters, but most of the comedy is a sort of "why would anybody do that" type of humor. Suits some, obviously. On the whole, the film is built for people with short memory spans, as segments really don't have any connection to each other. This fact is acceptable for the first 40 minutes, but by the 41st, you will certainly ask yourself why you are still watching, hoping that something relevant will occur.
I cannot totally smash the movie, however, as the colors were quite vibrant and the journey itself is something that certain watchers might find interesting in its own right. Also, it must be said that Halina Reijn, the lead female, is exciting to watch. Her facial expressions, her candor in front of camera. Of course, she's beautiful. I should also mention that a greater understanding of the Brothers Grimm and their folk tales might lend itself to a greater appreciation of the film. It was clear that this was the case with the 2005 Matt Damon film, but with this one, it is less obvious whether a greater understanding of the tales would make Grimm better.
If you're going to watch it, make sure you school yourself on the back story (the Brother's Grimm tales).
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