Review: From God (2003)

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Directed by: Pieter Kuijpers | 100 minutes | drama, crime | Actors: Egbert Jan Weeber, Tygo Gernandt, Angela Schijf, Frits Lambrechts, Huub Stapel, Mads Wittermans

Director Pieter Kuijpers definitely put himself in the spotlight with his film “Losing God”. For Dutch standards the print is therefore unholland good. Kuijpers’ skilful direction therefore turns’ Los from God ‘into a film that is convincing in both a commercial and an artistic sense. The atmosphere of the film is comparable to classic mafia dramas by American director Martin Scorsese. But Kuijpers knows how to give his print its own face.

“Losing God” is inspired by the notorious gang of Venlo. The criminal actions of this group caused a shock throughout the Netherlands. The brutal murder of an elderly couple was one of the worst crimes in Dutch history. The story of the film will therefore sound somewhat familiar to many people. Kuijpers shows courage with the film by placing the story in the gang’s perspective.

It is not an easy task to cultivate sympathy for hard-core criminals. But the director skilfully avoids this pitfall. Kuijpers succeeds with the fantastic casting of the main characters. A whole generation of up-and-coming Dutch talent has been attracted to “Van God Los”. The role occupation has been filled out very well. Egbert Jan Weeber plays Stan, a schoolboy who does not know what he wants to do with his life. Weeber shows in the print why he is regarded as an up-and-coming talent in the Dutch film world. His character’s dilemmas are beautifully portrayed by Weeber. His body language and emotional outbursts in particular are a joy to watch. Weeber gets good counterplay from fellow players Tygo Gernandt and Angela Schijf.

Gernandt in particular makes an impression as the criminal Maikel. Gernandt does not lapse into a caricatural role of hard bad guy, but manages to portray a very human gangster. Gernandt’s version of the gangster is a man of flesh and blood, with his good and bad sides. The chemistry between Gernandt and Weeber is very strong. You immediately believe that the two men are friends outside of the set too. The rest of the cast is excellent too. Angela Schijf has a nice role as Maikel’s girlfriend. At first she knows nothing about the criminal activities of Maikel and Stan. But when she discovers that the boys aren’t looking at a murder more or less, she realizes she can’t go back. Because of her relationship with Maikel, she has become an accomplice. Schijf portrays the desperation of her character very credibly.

The role of the junkie Sef deserves special mention. Actor Mads Wittermans plays this character very well. The powerful acting performances are, in addition to the atmosphere, the greatest asset of “Los of God”. Director Kuijpers knows how to find a perfect balance between drama and crime. “Free from God” can effortlessly rank among the top of the crime genre. At an international level, that is.

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