Mon, 4 February 2019
From Ernest Mathijs in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die:
"Paul Verhoeven's most elaborate Dutch film - and the most spectacular and expensive film from Holland at the time - announced themes that the director would return to later when he was working in Hollywood (notably in 2006's Black Books).
"Soldier of Orange sketches the experiences of a group of Dutch students during World War II, initially reacting with a shrugging 'a bit of war would be nice,' they soon find themselves forced to make choices - joining the Germans, the resistance movement, or going underground. Throughout the film, Erik Lanshof (Rutger Hauer) is at the center of things. While others around him are compelled to choose between different paths, Erik enjoy the freedom of letting chance make his decisions for him, jumping from one adventure to another.
"The movie is at its best when it addresses, in minute detail, the social issues dominating wartime Holland. Each character is a microcosm of Dutch society during the war. They are made human by connecting them to real people (among the film's characters is Dutch monarch Queen Wilhelmina), but also used as a detailed reflection on how war changes people and their opinions - as if the film is asking us not to judge but to understand the motives of friend and foe."
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