Carice van Houten plays Rachel Stein, a Jewish singer who falls in with the Dutch resistance after her family are murdered by the Nazis. Convinced to infiltrate the regional Gestapo, she manages to get close to SS commander Ludwig Müntze (Sebastian Koch), feeding back information to her comrades and helping to turn the fight against the German forces. Things, however, are not as they seem.
Full of breath-taking action set pieces and labyrinthine twists and turns, Black Book begins as an expertly tense spy thriller, before taking a left turn into the moral grey areas of war, and the subject of secret collaboration with the Nazis.
Territory that Verhoeven first explored in Soldier of Orange (which like Black Book was co-written by Gerard Soeteman, with whom Verhoeven has written all his Dutch films), it is another masterful exploration of the corrupting nature of power wrapped inside a riotously entertaining thriller.
A film that pulls no punches about the costs and hypocrisy of war, and another potent commentary on exploitation and female agency carried by a masterful performance by Carice van Houten, Black Book saw Verhoeven return to Europe having lost none of his power to shock and provoke and stands as one of his greatest works.
This film is screening at Tyneside Cinema as FLESH + BLOOD: THE CINEMA OF PAUL VERHOEVEN which you can learn more about here!