Review: Blind Spot (2017)

Blind Spot (2017)

Directed by: Nabil Ben Yadir | 97 minutes | action, crime, drama, thriller | Actors: Peter van den Begin, Soufiane Chilah, Jan Decleir, David Murgia, Ruth Becquart, Jurgen Delnaet, Bert Haelvoet, Mathijs Scheepers, Tibo Vandenborre, Gaël Maleux, Vincent Tavier

What do you do when today there is a culture of fear and the neighborhood in which you grew up, after the attacks in Paris, is portrayed by the media and politicians as a breeding ground for terror? Exactly, letting your visual voice be heard with the end result being a shadowy police thriller where the line between genuine politics and corruption blurs. Filmmaker and Molenbeekaar Nabil Ben Yadir will undoubtedly have been influenced by these events during the shooting days of ‘Deadhoek’. Unlike his directorial debut ‘Les Barons’ (2009) and his second film ‘La Marche’ (2013), the French-speaking director mainly uses a Flemish cast for this film.

Jan Verbeeck (Peter van den Begin) is soon to be ex-commissioner: he has decided to enter politics and join the extreme right-wing VPV, Flemish Party for Security. Due to his popularity and status within the Antwerp police force, his departure did not go unnoticed. On his last evening as supervisory director, colleagues have a nice parting gift for him in the offing. However, an informant’s unreliable information leads to a botched drug lab raid. Verbeeck finds it difficult to let go of the event and investigates, with all the consequences that entails.

In the beginning of ‘Dead corner’ everything is a bit on the puzzling side. The introduction of several characters takes place but it is difficult to fathom some personalities, because is Jan Verbeeck racist or not? Jan joins a populist party, but at the same time Dries (Soufiane Chilah) seems to be his best friend and confidant, a young and loyal inspector of Moroccan descent who has great admiration for his commissioner. Or is Dries someone who would rather lose his roots than be rich?

The role of (excited) commissioner is appropriately played by Peter van den Begin – with a somewhat exaggerated and unexpected outburst of anger here and there. As a starting actor, Soufiane Chilah is not inferior to the more experienced company of players and knows how to portray Dries’ character convincingly. Jan Decleir has a small role in the film, but knows how to deliver added value like no other, thanks in part to his powerful voice and pronunciation. David Murgia also plays strong and seems to say everything with few words.

Slowly but surely the necessary puzzle pieces fall into place and there is room for uninterrupted action. As a spectator, during various scenes, you are not always directly witness to the actual violence, but by means of powerful sound effects you can estimate the outcome of all the violence. A shooting or fight is filmed from a unique, well-considered angle and therefore provides an even more intense viewing experience. As a viewer, you are repeatedly stimulated to trust your own imagination.

The different locations (from abandoned parking garages to dark and gloomy neighborhoods in Antwerp and Charleroi) and the gloomy weather conditions make an essential contribution to the mostly gray images and the overall atmosphere of the film.

The title of the film is all-encompassing. ‘Blind spot’, where danger lurks where possible: that which is not seen by many or perhaps even… does not want to be seen. A powerful film that dares to tackle a (very) topical subject in its own way.

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