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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    Black Book is Verhoeven's best film since "RoboCop": audacious, smart, shamelessly entertaining.
  2. 91
    In the end, Black Book may be one of the most fun movies ever made about how people basically suck.
  3. 88
    While Rachel's story is fiction, many of its incidents are rooted in historical events carefully researched by Soeteman and the film's briskly staged action and stunning reversals of fortune ensure that its two and a half hours fly by.
  4. Black Book is its own kind of thriller. The film is filled with the genre's conventions -- suspense, betrayal, melodrama, violence, music -- and it's hugely enjoyable from start to finish.
  5. Van Houten, a veteran of European TV, is in almost every scene, and her energetic performance keeps Black Book percolating despite an overstuffed plot that strains credibility and often tips over into melodrama.
  6. Like Stone in "Basic Instinct," van Houten has an audacity to match Verhoeven's. Hers is a role that Bette Davis would have killed Ingrid Bergman for, and she is so good in it that it seems only a matter of time before she'll star in a real Hollywood movie - as opposed to this pretender.
  7. 30
    This is trash pretending to serve the cause of history: a "Dirty Dozen" knockoff with one eye on "Schindler’s List."

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 4 out of 26
  1. Christopher
    Nov 13, 2007
    10
    This was one of the best films one can see. It was well done; great plot, great acting and excellent photography. I watched it 2 times - it was that good. Expand
  2. Enrique
    May 16, 2007
    10
    Absolutely one of the best political thrillers ever.
  3. AurelianL.
    Jun 4, 2007
    10
    Surprisingly good. fast paced and interesting. More complex characters than you would expect for a action romp. Interestingly, teaches me that listening to the New Yorker for film reviews is a total waste of time. Nigel Andrews in the Financial Times was much more reliable in predicting its appeal. Expand
  4. AndrewK.
    May 26, 2007
    8
    This movie was awesome. Kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Everyone in the film is brilliant, but Van Houten especially stands out. It had the cool resistance-group action feel of Munich with the style and spirit of a foreign film. Does this count as a foreign film since it was made by Paul Verhoeven? I don't know and I don't care. The action scenes were intense, the sex scenes were erotic and there was just the right dose of humor at all the right times. The best film I've seen so far this year. Expand
  5. Aug 24, 2010
    8
    Jewish Dutch girl hides from the Nazis, reunites with her family, joins the resistance, gets friendly with high ranking Nazi officer, deceit & mayhem.
    Surprised this was as good as it was considering Paul Verhoeven was the director. Yes it has his usual amounts of pointless nudity but the story is very gripping & Carice van Houten is very convincing in the lead role.
    Expand
  6. ChadS.
    May 18, 2007
    7
    "Black Book" is a handsomely mounted, very entertaining thriller about...the holocaust, which is slightly better than a life-affirming comedy("Life is Beautiful") about the holocaust, I guess. Ellis(Carice van Houten) is unlike any protagonist we've ever seen in a film about Jews during the war, because she never seems sufficiently devastated about the plight of her people, even her family. Ellis' greatest outpouring of emotion is for a Kraut. In her former incarnation, as Rachel, a German plane bombs the home of her Christian safekeepers, and she never seems at all perturbed about their sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice these people paid for hiding her from the camps. They were Dutch, I believe. After the war, Ellis is branded as a collaborator for the Nazis. This is when "Black Book" goes over-the-top with the tears and action. She's punished twice, if you're perceptive enough to see what happens to her as such. In a key scene, meant to elicit sympathy for Ellis, vengeful millitary officials dump a vat of feces on the hapless Jew, who you're supposed to feel sorry for her. But this woman is no Anne Frank. You can make the argument that this retribution by the Dutch people(which is directed at her for allegedly setting a trap for the revolutionaries), is actually an act of incidental vigilantism for that Christian family she never feels any remorse for. There were small children who burned up in that household. She's punished again for crying over Muntz(Sebastian Koch). I'm not really sure what this filmmaker is trying to say, but "Black Book" is undeniably fun to watch, even though it's about one of the darkest chapters in human civilization. Expand
  7. Carolinek.
    Sep 4, 2007
    2
    Terrible film - a very complicated plot that was not explained well. Hated the scene with all the poo just unnecessary.

See all 26 User Reviews

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