Borgman ★★★★½

Van Warmerdam is my favourite Dutch director. He makes films that are quintessentially Dutch in their tone and touches upon Dutch sensibilities with confounding and intriguing absurdism.

Borgman is a step away from that in so far that this is a more universally themed film, but it is still imbued in that trademark van Warmerdam style. It is a film that is very difficult to grasp and I feel attempting to make sense of it is missing the point. This is a visually striking mood piece, focused more on conveying a sensation rather than recounting a story.

Borgman is about evil. Evil we, adults, call upon ourselves, invite into our homes, driving our self centred lives. As heavy as this may sound, van Warmerdam's dark tone with a soft touch provides for some darkly comic moments and a purveying sense of unease and dread.

The cast is excellent, but Jan Bijvoet and Hadewych Minis are absolutely phenomenal. While I don't feel this is van Warmerdam's strongest film, it is definitely his most visually striking. He composes tableaus here that are very memorable, but his biggest achievement lies in creating that intangible, persistent sense of unease.

Funny, absurd, elusive and uncomfortable, Borgman is an experience I can highly recommend.

DirkH liked this review