Paul Verhoeven has cut quite a swathe through Hollywood since he arrived in the 1980s, directing several blockbuster movies – some of which I like – Showgirls, Basic Instinct – and others that are too action-y for me – Robocop and Total Recall. I did love Flesh + Blood, his American film debut as well
Verhoeven has been called a one man Dutch Film Industry. I cannot describe how much I love his early Dutch films. Whether it is because they are better than his Hollywood output or just because I have a real love and preference for European cinema to Hollywood in general, I am not sure. But I find these six films below endlessly fascinating.
Verhoeven was very lucky. Holland boasted some amazing acting talent he could use for his films – Rutger Hauer, Monique van de Ven, Jeroen Krabbe and Renee Soutendijk – to name but a few top class Dutch actors. His films have been accused of excessive sex, nudity and violence. To me, his early films are very realistic and Verhoeven does not exploit any of the above themes – he just shows them for what they are.
I have wanted for a long time to express my joy at Verhoeven’s Dutch work. So here is my list below, celebrating the best of early Dutch Verhoeven
(NOTE: Black Book, whilst a very good film, is not included as it is post-Hollywood)
This article was first posted on February 9, 2013