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Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    May 25, 2013
    91
    With pitch-perfect performances across the board, and boasting crisp photography and editing, the film never ceases to twist, turn and surprise, taking wicked joy in constantly switching us back on ourselves and our expectations of the characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 3, 2014
    90
    Van Warmerdam keeps such a calm, firm hold on the material that he practically hypnotizes you into following along to the end. The craftsmanship is precise; the result is enigmatic.
  3. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Jun 13, 2014
    88
    A remarkable, thoroughly disturbing creepshow that burrows deep under your skin and refuses to let go.
  4. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    May 26, 2013
    70
    A quirky study of the unrelenting grip of evil, the film is beautifully made, though stronger in its intriguing setup than its muddy resolution.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 9, 2014
    70
    If you can tolerate watching it once, it will burrow into your brain and never get out again; your only recourse will be dragging your friends into the nightmare and seeing it again.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Jun 5, 2014
    67
    Van Warmerdam keeps things engrossingly ominous throughout, and Bijvoet has a lot of fun with his passive-aggressive creepazoid, but Borgman is both too self-consciously odd and too bluntly punitive to draw real blood.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jun 19, 2014
    25
    The Dutch thriller Borgman gets credit for being original, but not for being original in a compelling way.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jul 22, 2014
    7
    The Dutch's submission for 2014 Oscars and it did not find a place in the final five. This Dutch movie got good critical response and mixed from the moviegoer. A strange narration and excellent characters display by the cast make the movie very interesting. A similar movie to the recent ones 'Upstream Color' and 'Enemy'. A movie for grown ups and a hard concept to crack it down. A slightly disturbing which leaves lots of questions behind than answering it. You should choose carefully this movie to watch. If you know what this movie is all about then there won't be an issue when you begin to watch it.

    This is not your regular entertainer, it is what people sometimes call an art movie. You need to be a little smarter in order to understand the movie with presentation like this. Because the movie won't conclude by saying its purpose, instead you should yourself decode it otherwise you will miss something hidden within and blame for the wasting time. This is the story of a mystery man Camiel Borgman and his gang who finds a place in a rich family house. Slowly conquer whole family by possessing and corrupting their minds. The gang is aware of what they are doing and what should be done like some secret mission of the secret organization. So how far it takes to accomplish and what are all methods used is the story that unfolds.

    ‘‘I am scared. It appeared suddenly.
    I've been marked’’

    Other movies leave pretty wide clues of what it was dealing, but this one it is a tough to make a guess. What I got was the good versus the evil theme. What if the negative forces like ghosts and demons are not scarier ones like we have believed, but lives among us as one possessing and terrorizing the human. The opening scene was fairly convinced me to believe this way when a bunch of priest tried to hunt down the evils by digging their graves out. So they left no choice, but leave the place behind and find a new home to save themselves and their kind. That is how Camiel Borgman make to a rich house. Entering into their minds, psychologically affecting the characters and bringing chaos to fight each others.

    Yeah, it won't look like any horror movie with scary pictures and sudden loud noises, but everything was told in a realistic manner. You would also find a werewolf kind of concept as well. Characters turning into a slimy dog (don't expect the computer graphical tricks because there is none) which won't exactly explains, but I assumed that way. Usually demons need an invitation, a scene in the movie explains it when a bunch of them try to enter the house as a gardener, but denied until Camiel Borgman makes it. I am not made for a movie like this, but sometimes I enjoy them and this movie looked better than what I had in my mind about it. Expected a little better in a few areas and wanted to like it. Still, I was not fully convinced, but somehow managed to like the movie.
    Expand
  2. Jun 8, 2014
    5
    I will have to side with Slant Magazines unfavorable review of this one. While Borgman commits to its theme of not explaining itself wholeheartedly, it falls short of being a genuinely intelligent thriller and comes away looking pretentious. Thus it falls to critics to justify the absurd with their high brows and references to religious symbolism. In fact i have found that some reviewers interpretation far more interesting than the film itself. Which i guess makes it worth seeing if you want to appear clever other film critics. Expand
  3. Aug 25, 2014
    4
    It does not offer much, just some surprises and a few memorable scenes. It seems at first like a great indie/foreign film, but then ultimately is an idea that crashes. Borgman is like a rocket that soars and immediatley bashes into a plane. Expand
  4. Jul 24, 2014
    3
    A quick summary of how the movie starts, which will be later needed: Borgman is a movie about Camiel Borgman, whom one can deduce he's a devil on account of him being chased by gun-toting clergy, who knocks on the door of a wealthy family, asking them to take a bath. The husband beats him senseless, but the wife takes pity and tends to him.

    I've seen this film with some friends at an outdoor cinema of sorts, and before it started, one of my them said to me: "Judging from the premise, this is one of those films which can be either really bad, or really good; there won't be any middle-ground." In the end, he turned out to like it, but I thought it was somewhere in the middle, in spite of his portents.

    It's shallow, it's soulless, it's devoid of any significant theme. I've figured it was about some devils taking over a family, but it only scratched the surface in this regard. It could have, for example, presented the inner turmoil of the family as it was slowly being torn apart for reasons unknown, or it could have gone into greater detail about the devils' modus operandi, having the audience know the villains and seed a sense of futility at any possible attempts to thwart them. As it stands, it's just Satan doing stuff, and try as I might, I couldn't for the life of me find anything notable about it! Congratulations, Alex van Warmerdam, for being among the creatively bankrupt people who have dulled Satan down so much even making him a tax accountant would be more interesting!

    There is also a scene which I can point to and call the first red flag: when the wife sees Camiel leaving and asks him to stay. Other than Camiel saying stupid things like 'I wanna play', this scene was heavily resembling an awful American horror film. Why didn't she just let him leave? Some might say that it's Camiel's demonic influence on her, but I see that as hiding behind your pinky. This was a moment when a character was being stupid because it was needed of her in order to advance the plot. It's has never been a good sign, and it doesn't matter how much personal interpretation you put in. It's just lazy on the writer's part!

    My friend told me I didn't like it because I'm used to American films where I can turn my brain off, but Borgman is actually so devoid of substance you can only enjoy it if you turn your brain off! Sorry, friend!
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