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(Review originally written at 5 December 2005)

"Keetje Tippel" is one of Verhoeven's lesser known movies but it really deserves to be seen and better known, all over the world. Reason why it isn't known better is I think because of "Turks fruit" from 1973. After that movie people expected this movie to be a sort of "Turks fruit 2", also because it was once again directed by Verhoeven and had Monique van de Ven and Rutger Hauer as the two main leads. "Turks fruit" and "Keetje Tippel" (and in a way also Verhoeven's earlier movie "Wat zien ik") show some similarities in the way the story is told but it are in fact of course two totally different movies.

The movie provides a pretty good and insightful view of life in late 19th century Amsterdam. The atmosphere of the old Amsterdam is perfectly captured by Jan de Bont's cinematography and by the costume design and art direction.

What makes "Keetje Tippel" better than the average period drama is the directness of the story telling. This is of course thanks to Verhoeven's typical style of directing that always is very direct and straight to the point. Once more the movie features quite some nudity and confronting scene's. But it all works well because it serves a purpose in the movie and it's obviously not only put in it to simply shock the viewer in a cheap way. The movie however is quite short and it didn't feel that the movie covered the entire story and the ending is abrupt and not entirely satisfying because it still leaves a bunch of questions unanswered.

The acting isn't always top-class but this is more because of the simple dialog, rather than its the actors their fault. Rutger Hauer however deserves credit for his role and he plays his character in a very believable way. Monique van de Ven is good for about 70% of the time but her acting really pushes it at times and her character at times goes a bit too much over-the-top. The movie further more features a good supporting cast.

The story is always interesting and you never know what is going to happen next, thanks to the unpredictable and realistic characters that are being portrayed in this movie. The movie is based on the real life of Neel Doff, which gives the movie an even more realistic and confronting feeling.

Better than your average period drama's. See this movie if you get the chance.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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