Directed by: Ger Poppelaars | 90 minutes | comedy, crime | Actors: Achmed Akkabi, Loek Peters, Eric Corton, Cees Geel, Dennis Overeem, Jennifer Hoffman, Patrick Stoof, Ergun Simsek, Redbad Klynstra, Alex Hendrickx, Eva Marie de Waal, Giel Beelen, Werner Koenen
It is the nightmare of the judiciary, the police and the government: confidential files that end up on the street and in the wrong hands. That is precisely the point of departure for the Telefilm ‘Laptop’ (2012), directed by Ger Poppelaars. A trio of Amsterdammers who have lost ground accidentally come across a computer full of secret information from the judiciary. They think they have won the battle of their lives and initially plan to sell the laptop for a lot of money. Out of curiosity, they open a number of files, which contain much more valuable information. The data comes from an investigation into notorious criminal Dimitrov (Ergun Simsek) and his gang. Names, addresses, phone numbers – they hold a wealth of information. Dirk (Loek Peters), the smartest of the three, then devises the brilliant plan to sell the information to the criminals for a lot of money. After all, what have they got to lose? From that moment on, they become entangled in a web of lies and deceit and become targets of both the judiciary and Dimitrov and his men.
The strength of this crime comedy lies in the trio of antiheroes in the lead roles and their pleasant mutual chemistry. Dirk is around forty and originally an architect. When and where exactly it went wrong with him and why, it is not entirely clear, but there is no doubt that it has something to do with his disabled son. Dirk is not sure how to deal with the apathetic boy, which has driven his wife away from him. Since then, he has lived in a ramshackle houseboat, joined by John (Eric Corton) and Quickie (Achmed Akkabi). John is a musician on the decline. In the early nineties he had a hit with his band ‘The Jumping Rats’, after which his career went downhill. His predilection for booze – and perhaps other narcotics or mind-altering substances in the past as well – may have been responsible for this. He is now in his fifties and his health appears to be on the decline. For John it is now or never to perform in front of a large audience one more time. Nineteen-year-old Quickie is a simple but very good boy who has been sent from one foster home to another during his childhood. In Dirk and John he has found soul mates who accept him as he is. It is he who stumbles upon the laptop during his tour of the city – where he collects junk to sell on.
Dirk, John and Quickie are types who don’t hurt a fly, but end up in trouble because of wrong choices. Their hubris puts them on very slippery ice, in circles they should keep away from. Quickie is the one who takes care of the comedic situations; especially his dialogue with the bed dealer, played by Patrick Stoof, makes you laugh. The likeable Akkabi gets away with everything with his big brown eyes. Moreover, the clumsy approach of the trio of amateur blackmailers is very funny. But not only the comedy in ‘Laptop’ comes out well, the crime element also works out well. It is still airy though. The film is edited smoothly and is full of visual tricks. But if you get the umpteenth freeze frame or fast forward fired at you, it gets a bit boring. Just as if they wanted to say: ‘Look what I can do’. Had the makers opened that box of tricks a little less wide and made the film a little more relaxed for the eye, ‘Laptop’ would have scored half a point higher. Nevertheless, this is a pleasantly looking away homegrown crime comedy, with successful jokes and a charming cast.