There are oh, so many movies about World War II and Nazi Germany.
“Black Book,” a 2006 film from the Netherlands, was expected to be nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars but was unfortunately edged out.
A film of almost epic proportions — and not just because of its 145-minute length — it offers a huge historical backdrop, lots of violence, a bit of romance, plenty of sex, deceit, betrayal, baby, it has everything.
The film begins in Israel in 1956, where Rachel, a Jew, meets an old friend at the kibbutz where she is working as a teacher. It brings back memories of life in the Netherlands during the war.
Rachel, played by Carice van Houten, is living in a safe house and must parrot the prayers of the Christian inhabitants.
A former singer, she uses her windup phonograph to play music while sitting beside an adjoining pond. A looker herself, she engages in conversation with a man on a sailboat when a plane flies by and starts dropping bombs.
It drops a bomb on the house she was living in and thus begins a new life working with the underground to battle Nazis.
That all happens after an old friend in the resistance gives her money and arranges for safe passage out of the Netherlands. Imagine her delight when she sees her brother and parents getting on the boat as well. She is overcome with joy. What an uplifting film, right?
Mmmm, not so much. Because soon a Nazi boat pulls up and they pull out machine-guns and start blasting everyone aboard.
Rachel watches her whole family be mowed down as she jumps overboard. The Nazis shoot into the water but fail to hit her. They can’t, otherwise the film is only 20 minutes long. Remember, I said it was 145 minutes?