‘Black Book’ an old-fashioned spy thriller | AspenTimes.com
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‘Black Book’ an old-fashioned spy thriller

Clarice van Houten and Sebastian Koch star in the Dutch World War II film "Black Book," showing Wednesday through Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House. (Jaap Vrenegoor)
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ASPEN ” Dutch-born director Paul Verhoeven, known for such thrillers as “Basic Instinct” and “Total Recall,” moves into unexpected territory with “Black Book,” opening Wednesday at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House.

Co-written by Verhoeven, the film is set toward the end of World War II and examines the activity of a Dutch resistance cell. Verhoeven’s version of a World War II story is long on suspense and surprises, as the resistance fighters – including a Jewish woman whose family had been wiped out by the Nazis – get dangerously close to the enemy.

The film is an endless maze of double crosses and double agents. But “Black Book” maintains a gravity appropriate to the setting, and successfully crystallizes issues, especially of identity: How much are we defined by our actions, as opposed to our intentions? And for a director whose films include the futuristic “Robocop” and “Total Recall,” Verhoeven displays a deft touch for the past, giving “Black Book” the feel, look and sound of an old-fashioned spy thriller.



It shows Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Wheeler, along with a 4:30 p.m. matinee on Saturday. “Disturbia” continues Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m.


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