Director: Jaap van Heusden | 83 minutes | drama | Actors: Oscar van Rompay, Leon Voorberg, Halina Reijn, Hans Kesting, Phi Nguyen, Pepijn Schoneveld, Hannah van der Sande, Christiaan Jelsma, Tamer Avkapan, Turan Furat, Pepijn Cladder, David Eeles, Denise Rebergen, Bob Schrijber, Anne Prakke, Doris Baaten, John Serkei, Bright Omansa Richards, Gijs de Lange, Jaap ten Holt, Frank Rigter, Wim Bouwens, Jurgen Theunissen, Jessy Love, Bob Stoop, Jack Luceno
Jaap van Heusden has already impressed with short films such as “Anderman” (2006) and “Ooit” (2008), so expectations for his first full-length film were high. Fortunately, the director, born in 1979, does not disappoint, in fact: he goes a step further: “Win / win” is a sublime production, with little to say about anything.
Ivan Lucas van der Wegen is 24 years old, born on September 27, 1984, comes from Brussels, but is pursuing a career at Cahen Greeson on the Zuidas, a financial hub in the Dutch capital. His sense of numbers, patterns and logic exudes from every pore. It is clear: Ivan is a star waiting to happen. He takes great pleasure in leaving post-its everywhere with tips for the stock market traders. Of course that does not go unnoticed. Trader Stef, who describes his trading partners on the basis of the car make they drive, what drink their poison is, and what kind of women (brown with a thick bottom or blond Russians) they fall on, sees the potential of this young number god and offers Ivan takes up a job as a junior trader. Ivan is doing well: at first he earns amounts with six decimal places per day for his company, but soon there are seven or eight. The sudden success of course also leaves its mark: Ivan cannot cope, especially when he sees the downside of success in the dealing room.
Actually, Ivan is very alone. The apartment he lives in feels too big for someone who doesn’t come home until the sun has long since disappeared. His family probably still lives in Belgium, but he does call his grandmother for a while, but he gets the most comfort from a cigarette. Almost immediately, the young twenties manages to evoke sympathy from the viewer, and this is reinforced by his attitude towards colleagues. There is Paul, a Korean with an autistic tendency, but different revealing gift as Ivan. The two gently form friends, which is reflected in a moving scene at the end of the film. He tries to dispel Ivan’s remaining moments of loneliness by making contact with Deniz, Cahen Greeson’s receptionist. A beautiful scene is when Ivan and Deniz lie on their stomachs in Ivan’s new apartment, looking at a nest of mice. A bond forms very cautiously, perhaps a romance, but Van Heusden makes no indication during the film where the relationship will be when the credits roll over the screen. That controlled tension can be felt in many scenes; you notice that something is coming, but you are not offered any handles, so that you are carried away throughout the film.
In addition, Van Heusden has the talent to initiate the public in a completely natural way into a world that is normally far from our bed; where snapping at and barking at your colleagues and bringing in millions of euros is perfectly normal. Because the central character is actually just as out of place, the viewer feels closely involved. The activities within the company are of course opaque to a layman, but in “Win / win” it all seems very logical. The fact that the cast also acts very credibly helps, of course. Oscar van Rompay is someone to keep an eye on, but Phi Nguyen also stands his ground. Leon Voorberg also convincingly portrays the role of Stef and knows how to fascinate Halina Reijn as Deniz.
After all, the “Win / win” cinematography is unparalleled. Take, for example, the scene with the hopscotch or the aforementioned scene in which Halina Reijn and Oscar van Rompay watch the mouse nest. And watching that: that’s exactly what makes “Win / win” such a particularly enjoyable film. Watching people and seeing and believing what motivates them. To conjure that up on the screen is a gift that only a select group of filmmakers have. Jaap van Heusden does have that gift.