Soldier Of Orange (1977)

PAUL VERHOEVEN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  Soldaat van Oranje

Netherlands/Belgium, 1977.  , , , .  Screenplay by , , Paul Verhoeven, based on the novel Soldaat van Oranje ’40-’45 by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 1979New York Film Critics Awards 1979.  

Marvelous war epic that could easily be considered the jewel in Paul Verhoeven’s career.   and are superb as young men who battle it out in university and go on to become compatriots in the Dutch resistance during World War II.  Verhoeven gives plenty of respect to the genre of war epics, with riveting characters having their destinies, over three wonderful hours, play out against a rich historic backdrop as they look to survive Nazi invasion and a few Allied bombings.  At the same time the delicious tropes of his charismatic career are in full force, including the men’s unapologetic indulgences in romancing some ladies, and visually kinky situations that describe the absurdity of war (such as two men dancing the tango right before bringing out about the big, violent climax).  Unlike similar films that espouse mere ideology and patriotism, this is a film about men getting the most out of the moment because life is fleeting, and the sense of immediacy that hangs over the whole thing, along with rich characterizations and period detail, provide a fully satisfying experience.

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