geoffreyjar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Rutger Hauer In-Memorium Retrospective:
On average, if you said Hauer's name, most would think of BLADE RUNNER and for good reason. He's the only good non-technical thing in the movie. In fact, the most famous scene in the movie was pretty much his idea. That monologue was so good it convinced most everyone that the movie was a billion times better than it actually was. And continues to do so. It was so good, most of us still convince ourselves that Ridley Scott is a great storyteller and not just a great craftsman who is one of the most anti-good-storytelling directors who ever lived and worked on a major scale. Think about it: Scott pretty much owes his entire reputation to Hauer.
Can you imagine being a filmmaker, and making the one perfect casting decision and that actor carries the whole movie on his back and he's so good at it, it convinces everyone it's a masterpiece and not just boring mess that is only good/great when said actor is on screen? That's the dream right there.
Anyways, when I heard Hauer's name I always thought of Paul Verhoeven's SOLDIER OF ORANGE. When I was growing it, it seemed this movie was a pretty big deal. Maybe it was just my circle because I don't see many talks about this one anymore and doing a quick search, it doesn't seem to be readily available to watch even (at least here in the US). As huge a fan of ROBOCOP I am, I probably still associate Verhoeven more with this move than his Hollywood fare I've re-watched way more of.
This is a very unique war movie. Not just because it covers a culture and people/subject we almost never see in a World War II. The War is practically a backdrop and is used more to discuss what it does among a small group of students and their relationships with one another. It's semi-neutral stance (via the characters, the movie is obviously anti-Nazi) makes war a banal existance that "is" and one has to just live around it.
Anyways, this is a movie I always think of when some dumbass says STARSHIP TROOPERS was pro-Nazi/fascism.