Review this movie
Jul 24, 2014A 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 anA 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!… Expand
Is Borgman a fable? A fairy tale? A parable? An allegory? A burlesque of Western bourgeois life in the 21st century? One thing Dutch writer-director Alex van Warmerdam’s film isn’t is a black comedy, even if that’s what it’s meant to be. The movie’s black, all right, but a comedy has to be funny.
For all its emotional roller-coastering and wild intrigue, the film's purpose — as well as its title character — feels more symbolic than specific. Still, this well-shot and -designed picture is a mostly compelling, intrepid ride.