The Fourth Man (Netherlands, 1983)
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Starring Jeroen Krabbé, Renée Soutendijk, Thom Hoffman, Dolf de Vries
It's a commonly held belief that Paul Verhoeven's Dutch language work is better than his later Hollywood efforts. It's certainly easy to misconstrue things in this regard, if we take Showgirls or Hollow Man as a yardstick against the likes of Spetters and Soldier of Orange. But perhaps the most illuminating comparison is with The Fourth Man, a 'spiritual prequel' to Basic Instinct which edges out over its State-side companion in almost every way.
Angel Heart, with one foot in the history of film noir.
Angel Heart is a fitting one, since both are unapologetic in their heady and intoxicating imagery, with theological accuracy taking a back seat to ambiguity and primal fear.
The Conversation, Reve is a lapsed Catholic who clings onto certain symbols and images (mainly the Virgin Mary) out of morbid fear for his wellbeing and sanity. He is perfectly happy to drink, swear, and sleep with men and women without a second thought, but the second that his life is threatened, he becomes a quivering wreck. His faith is being crushed or overshadowed by a more powerful evil, slowly covering everything, like the spider's web on the crucifix in the opening shot.
Peeping Tom, we cannot completely trust Reve and therefore remain in two minds.
NEXT REVIEW: Lady and the Tramp (1955)