Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: De Vierde Man
The Netherlands, 1983. Rob Houwer Productions, Verenigde Nederlandsche Filmcompagnie. Screenplay by Gerard Soeteman, based on the novel by Gerard Reve. Cinematography by Jan de Bont. Produced by Rob Houwer. Music by Loek Dikker. Production Design by Roland de Groot. Costume Design by Elly Claus. Film Editing by Ine Schenkkan. National Board of Review Awards 1984. Toronto International Film Festival 1983.
In this highly enjoyable, overwhelmingly stylish film, Jeroen Krabbé plays a successful writer who accepts a gig giving a lecture to a book society in a small town outside of Amsterdam. He meets a mysteriously sexy beauty salon owner with whom he spends a night and with whom he decides to stay; when he spots a photo of her hot young boyfriend, it becomes his do-or-die mission to lure the young man into their conjugal nest and have his way with him too. Unfortunately he also begins to have horrible visions of his lady paramour causing him harm, visions that become genuinely threatening when he discovers that our heroine is a femme fatale with three dead husbands. It’s as shallow as a puddle and not fully satisfying in its conclusion, but the high style with which it is told is enough to hold you, and the performances are wonderful.