Review: My Father is a Detective: The Law of 3 (2011)

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My Father is a Detective: The Law of 3 (2011)

Directed by: Will Wissink | 80 minutes | drama, adventure | Actors: Tjeerd Melchers, Rick Mackenbach, Cees Geel, Daniel Boissevain, Jasmin Pasteuning, Tara Heitharia, Marline Williams, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Jesse Faber, Peggy-Jane de Schepper, Ellen ten Damme

When Sterre (Jasmin Pasteuning) is filming her neighbor Sam (Tjeerd Melchers) and friend Ortwin (Rick Mackenbach) practicing their new dance moves, detective Max (Cees Geel) sells his old car. Money problems, such as in the first part of ‘My Dad is a Detective’, no longer has the sleuth, he has more customers and therefore he can afford to help fourteen-year-old girl Mara (Tara Hetharia) (despite being offers him her savings). Mara’s mother Ramira has been missing for a few days. The palm reader lives with her daughter in Het Paradijs, an artists’ collective somewhere remote in the woods, near an idyllic lake. Mara has not yet called in the police, after all, Ramira disappeared without a trace a few years ago, after an argument with her artist friend Jesse (Jesse Faber). Then it turned out that she was just staying with her mother. But yes, he died last year… According to Mara, it has been haunted since Ramira disappeared from the face of the earth, but the three teenagers have their doubts about that. Max promises to go and have a look the next day and when Sam and Ortwin see that Sterre is also attending, they decide to go too.

It does indeed seem to haunt the Paradise. Suddenly a wind picks up, the clothes of the boys swimming in the lake disappear and the abandoned tram parked on the site suddenly starts to ring. Sterre befriends the quirky Mara, who, despite her claims to the contrary, doesn’t seem all that impressed by her mother’s disappearance. Meanwhile, Max sniffs around, but Sam and Ortwin also give their eyes and ears a good meal. Something is not right in Paradise. The five residents (Mara, her mother’s boyfriend Jesse, and his mother Aurora (Willeke van Ammelrooy) and her aunt Helen (Peggy-Jane de Schepper) and her uncle Chris (Daniël Boissevain) know more about Ramira’s fate. But what?

Compared to the first film, ‘The Law of 3’ is an improvement. The limited budget has been put to better use. For example, no use was made of clumsy special effects (the hideous parrot from part 1 is still burned into the mind of many viewers), but the filmmakers duo Zebi Damen (screenplay) and Will Wissink (director) have used minimal means (candles, wicca -like ornaments) managed to create a mystical atmosphere. Fortunately, the dialogues are devoid of hip – and therefore unnatural – statements this time. The scenario is also – until the implausible end – much better put together. Unlike many youth films, in ‘The Law of 3’ it takes a relatively long time to guess the true facts of the mystery and that is quite pleasant. Unfortunately, the acting is wrong in certain cases. Texts are spooned up without any flair or feeling and some (young) actors have not yet discovered their facial expressions. That is a bit distracting, but fortunately the smoothly told story makes up for it. ‘My Father Is A Detective: The Law Of 3’ is an enthusiastically made, suspenseful film, which will best entertain children in the age range of 9 to 14.

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