(Review originally written at 21 July 2005)

This movie surpassed all my expectations. Its very raw in its violence and story. The characters are well developed and the actors that portray them are most excellent.

I couldn't help thinking about "Goodfellas" while watching this movie. Both movies have certain parallels. The main character doesn't begin his life as a criminal and murderer but slowly becomes so and transforms throughout the movie. Also the criminal activities in both movies are quite the same. Still this doesn't mean that "Van God Los" is a cheap Dutch rip-off of "Goodfellas", no not at all! "Van God Los" is a powerful movie on its own that is driven by its well developed characters. The movie has some pretty violent scene's, they were really not holding back here and I found it even quite shocking and disturbing at times but in a good way.

The story is very solid and well written and it's loosely based on true events. Yes people, these events and gangs are so rare in The Netherlands that they make movies about them. All of the events in the movie feel all very realistic which is I think also thanks to the fine actors. But it's not all violence in this movie, the movie is driven by some powerful emotions and the movie has several layers. It's a both powerful emotional movie as well as a violent one. In a way the movie shows that everyone has it in him or her to become a criminal. Basically there is no reason why this couldn't happen to any of you out there.

The movie is very well directed by Pieter Kuijpers, who is a great character director. The fine cinematography by Bert Pot impressed me and the music by 'Het Paleis van Boem' set the mood for the movie perfectly.

To be honest, I was kind of worried when the movie and its narration began. All of the main characters in the movie are speaking with a certain Dutch accent they speak in the southern province Limburg. I'm from the absolute most northern province of The Netherlands and Limburg is the most southern province of The Netherlands. Needless to say that the accents are completely different and in my ears even irritating, than I'm used to. But those worries were all for nothing, you get used to the accents very quick and after a while you don't even really notice them anymore. Of course for all the people outside The Netherlands who don't speak one word of Dutch, this isn't a complaint because they will simply of course not be bothered by it at all.

This movie most certainly surprised me in a positive way and I think that this movie deserves an international audience.


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About Frank Veenstra

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