idiots from the Hangover franchise
have nothing on Jos Vreeswijk, who is about to wake up next to a dead body, a
smoking gun, and no memory of the last twenty four hours. He has one day to get it all sorted if he
wants to make it to the church in time for his wedding in Arne Toonen’s Black Out (trailer here), which screens
during the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.
was once a criminal, but he went straight.
It seemed to take, up until the point he woke up with a corpse in his
bed. His fiancée Caroline knows he has a
shady past, but she accepts him nonetheless.
His prospective father-in-law is less understanding, but he seems to be
up to his eyeballs in the mess enveloping Vreeswijk. Evidently, it involves twenty kilos of
cocaine two rival gang lords think he owes them. To get back to the straight-and-narrow, Vreeswijk
will have to boost somebody else’s coke.
There seems to be plenty around, but holding onto it is a trickier proposition.
Black Out is a darkly
comic, slightly cartoony criminal caper which hums along quite
energetically. You have your ballet
dancers-turned Russian mobsters, psycho baby doll enforcers, malevolent grandpas,
and out of their depth dog groomers all getting in on the action. Yet, it is the steely Robert Conrad-esque Raymond
Thirry who anchors the bedlam quite effectively as the reformed everyman, Vreeswijk. Despite all the betrayal and confusion
exploding around him, he is always manly and never whiny.
Kim van Kooten is pleasantly down to earth and pragmatic as the innocent Caroline. All the crazy acting out is left to the rest
of the cast, who gorge on scenery like a Bonanza buffet. Arguably, the subtlest, most intriguing
supporting character is Renee Fokker’s Inez, the “Connoisseur of Coke” and
formerly Vreeswijk’s close associate.
Tonnen is obviously influenced by Tarantino and
the recent bumper crop of Scandinavian noirs, but even if he never reinvents
the wheel, he keeps things punchy and pacey.
Violence and eccentricity are liberally mixed together, but Black Out still feels fresh thanks to
Thirry’s grounded center. A slickly
entertaining one-darned-thing-after-another gangster romance-beatdown, Black Out is recommended pretty enthusiastically
for genre fans when it screens this coming Sunday (6/2) and Monday (6/3) at
Windmill Studios, as part of the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival.
Labels: BFF '13, Dutch cinema, Gangster Films