Directed by: Dave Schram | 115 minutes | drama, family | Actors: Robin Martens, Roos Smit, Marius Gottlieb, Marloes van der Wel, Niels Oosthoek, Ilias Ojja, Pim Wessels, Beau Schneider, Nick Boer, Whoopie van Raam, Renée Soutendijk, Monic Hendrickx, Victor Löw, Hugo Haenen, Kees Boot, Kees Hulst, Aart Staartjes, Pieter van der Sman, Ali Cifteci, Truus te Selle, Trudy de Jong, Guus Dam, John Buisman, Rosalie van Breemen, Kurt Rogiers, Govert de Roos
The third film version of another successful book by Carry Slee paints a striking picture of modern adolescents in a modern, complex time. That may evoke strong associations, but the film is not. The drama surrounding the anorexia on the one hand and bereavement on the other is not shunned, but the whole remains fresh, worked out relatively lightly and it bites away nicely. Which may again evoke the association of superficial entertainment, but it is not.
The film adaptations of Slee’s books, so far ‘Afstay’ (2006) and ‘Timboektoe’ (2007) have been almost as successful as the books themselves. They can be filmed nicely, like the books by John Grisham: when you read them you can almost see the film in front of you, but yes, you still have to do it, film that. The director/producer duo and married couple Dave Schram and Maria Peters – or should we talk or a film family, daughter Tessa also works fully in the background and played the role of Fleur in ‘Keep off’ – love their work and it shows. you.
Enthusiasm radiates from the screen. The smooth narration is nicely designed. An inventive and funny find in the first sequence, in which the sale of an old-timer (car), the audition of a mannequin (Yara) and the inspection of a horse are significantly linked together, promises a lot of good. After this the level remains good, but the humorous and slightly sharp tone of the beginning is not continued and makes way for a fairly exciting, but also ‘normal’ story about early love, friendship, youthful insecurity and grief.
What a nice cast they have found for that. Our male protagonist Paco (Marius Gottlieb from the well-known TV series “Spangas”) carries the film and is convincingly assisted by charming newcomer Marloes van der Wel. Old hands in the field like Victor Löw, Renée Soutendijk, Monique Hendrickx and Kees Hulst let them fall into a spread bed. The other supporting roles are also nice, although bad girl Floor (Robin Martens) could have been a bit more believable, but that is actually mainly due to the script, in which certain twists seem to serve the really young audience a bit too much and create unnecessary holes in the script , like all situations around the VJ match.
Screenwriter Maria Peters could have stayed on that a little longer, at least to keep the slightly older target group satisfied. And while we’re on the subject, the basic storyline doesn’t seem to have been followed completely: in the film, Paco is almost more the main character than Yara, and Yara’s will to lose weight is much more linked to her (mother’s) desire to become a fashion model. then to the battle for Paco’s love, because Yara is very controlled.
The soundtrack is nice and the main song ‘Life is a Festival’ by DJ Don Diablo is pleasant to the ear, although a little more real Dutch music wouldn’t have hurt. In a production that is home-grown in all aspects, that could have been a little clearer with the music.
In any case, ‘Distressed’ is another great film from the magic hat of Peters & Schram, with serious themes but still light and entertaining. With Carry Slee’s book as a guideline, it can’t really go wrong, but it is the enthusiastic direction and production that give this film its fresh look. And of course the excellent performance of yet another new generation of young film talent. On to the next book.