Review: Alex in Amsterdam (2009)

Alex in Amsterdam (2009)

Directed by: Michiel ten Horn | 40 minutes | comedy, short film | Actors: Krisjan Schellingerhout, Sallie Harmsen, Felix Burleson, Raymond Thiry, Rene Groothof, Guus Dam, Stephan Evenblij, Frank Evenblij

The young, somewhat naive Alex is a pastry chef’s son in a village in Limburg. He would have liked to continue his father’s pie business, but that is not possible due to the economic crisis. His parents decide for him that it is better that he goes to college. The study economics in Amsterdam seems like something to them. The film starts on the day that Alex has an appointment with his landlord, because when you study in Amsterdam you have to go to a room. Armed with a well-thumbed and probably very outdated map, a note with the address on it and a flan (“A Christopher, to be precise”), Alex boards the train. The poor boy is shocked when suddenly a fellow traveler starts talking to him. Once at the Central Station, Alex falls from one surprise to another. A (beautiful) girl (Sallie Harmsen, ‘Real life’) bumps into him and yells at him. Alex finds out in a motorized bicycle taxi that she has stolen his wallet. Due to a communication breakdown, the two directors (acting brothers Stephan and Frank Evenblij) misunderstand Alex and take him to the red light district, where Alex no longer knows where to look. As payment they each take a piece of cake (“it’s not a cake, it’s a pie!”). Alex then encounters two bums and a bunch of corps balls and the misunderstandings pile up.

This makes it difficult for the economics student to get to the agreed address on time. And why does he keep running into that girl? ‘Alex in Amsterdam’ (2009) is a short film made as part of One Night Stand 4. The story was written by Anne Barnhoorn (1982), but director Michiel ten Horn (1983) came up with the idea. The humor is mainly in the absurd, magnified situations in which the main character Alex ends up on his, it cannot be other than his first, visit to our capital.

The story itself is quite predictable, from the moment the background of Lotte (nice pun) is announced, it is already clear how the film will end. All the events that follow are the V’s that you put on a checklist. Yet that predictability does not disturb: ‘Alex in Amsterdam’ remains a pleasant film to watch, partly due to the surreal, somewhat ‘Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain’-like atmosphere and the exciting chemistry between the two protagonists.

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