Character (Karakter) (1997)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBThe Netherlands/Belgium, 1997.  First Floor Features, Almerica Film.  Screenplay by Mike Van Diem, , , based on the short story Dreverhaven en Katadreuffe and the novel Karakter by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1997.  Toronto International Film Festival 1997.  

Imagine Dickens filmed by Steven Spielberg and starring Buster Keaton and you have this sumptuous Dutch tale that took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. The story is of a young man raised illegitimately in Amsterdam who grows up to become a law clerk in a prestigious law firm, only to have his success threatened by his being suspected in the murder of his estranged father. Not as fascinating as it wants to be, and certainly not as entertaining, but the scene where ignores solders barricading a neighbourhood and enters it to evict a family who owes him money is worth the price of admission. Director Mike Van Diem’s speech at the Academy Awards had more life and vigour to it than his film does.

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