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Even though Belgium really doesn't have a very strong or rich history in film-making, it is one of the countries that often produces some of the most original and unusual movies.

And this movie is definitely original and unusual, not only just with its premise but also really the way it got shot and how the story got approached, by director Michael R. Roskam. It definitely has its own unique style to it, which is dark and incredibly unsettling, even while the movie itself still features plenty of goofy moments and relieving comedy in it.

The premise sounds so unlikely; a crime movie involving the Belgian hormone mafia. Not exactly the sort of thing you would first think about, when thinking off a tough, straightforward crime movie. But let me tell you that the story plays out just as well as for instance a crime movie involving other drugs, money laundry, or just a bunch of Italians defending their turf. It's really surprising how incredibly effective the story works out and how it can put you on the edge of your seat.

The movie is also being really made special by its characters. These are not some ordinary characters, you are normally accustomed to seeing in a crime movie. No slick looking- and talking characters, just a bunch of rotten looking scoundrels, who are all far from perfect and obviously all have a long and dark, dirty past. The main character himself hardly talks and he is not a pleasant guy, due to the use, or better said misuse, of hormones throughout the years. He is not the sort of guy you would ever want to hang out with, or come across at night on the streets. Yet his character becomes a really involving one, you even start to care for.

That's perhaps the movie its greatest strength. No matter how dirty and ugly the movie turns, you always still feel involved and care for the characters in it. On a dramatic level the movie works really well, because of that and this provides the movie with some at times great and powerful moments.

It really is a movie that works out on so many different levels. It works out great as a crime movie but also really as a drama and even as a still amusing movie. A really great achievement and it's one fine looking movie as well, with a great approach and style to it all.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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