Review: Monk (2017)

Monk (2017)

Directed by: Ties Schenk | 74 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Sam Louwyck, Olivia Lonsdale, Marina Gatell, Teun Stockel

Monk thinks he may have Lyme disease. Monk wants the doctor to examine a suspicious mole. A while back, Monk thought he had prostate cancer, but that turned out to be a false alarm. Not very surprising, because Monk is only 13 years old. He lives in the heart of Amsterdam with his Spanish mother, mentally ill father and handsome sister Joni. His uncle in Spain is seriously ill, which probably explains Monk’s hypochondria.

When the uncle’s health deteriorates, the family gets into the family car and heads for Spain. Along the way, all kinds of problems surface, in which those of father and adolescent sister play a big role. Before he traveled to Spain, the father had locked himself in a dark room for a long time. There he worked, an artist by profession, obsessed with a work of art. His family slowly disappeared from view.

For those who haven’t figured it out yet: ‘Monk’ is a tragicomic film, with a road trip as the main story element and the title character as a guide. Little Monk is a devoted family member, even before the family travels. When he hears to his dismay that his sister wants to lose her virginity in the rector’s office (luckily not by the rector himself), he posts himself in front of the office door. He only realizes that his sister has left for the empty gym with her admirer much too late. Of those things.

Although the family has many traits of the usual dysfunctional movie family, the Monks have enough of their own to stand on their own two feet. We owe this to someone who bears the blessed name Roosmarijn Roos Rosa de Carvalho. We owe not only the smooth and funny dialogues to her screenplay, but also the fact that we once again encounter a different side of the multicultural Netherlands. A mixed Spanish-Dutch family, where sentences start in Dutch and end in Spanish. Where Dutch silliness and Spanish temperament make a wonderful marriage.

We are not going to complain about the acting, with the Spanish Marina Gatell as the energetic centerpiece. The music is fine, the cinematography is cheerful and stylish, the tone sultry and sensual. The fact that the film lacks comprehension and originality can be classified under the heading ‘there must be something to complain about’. Because otherwise we had a great time with this stubborn film from our own soil.

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