The title “Strange Blood” does cover the meaning of this film. The status of Dutch classics such as “Flodder”, “Soldier of Orange” and “Zwartboek” will not easily win this production. This movie is too obtrusive and deviant for that. However, willfulness is not an obstacle to success and praise, because “Abel” by director Alex van Warmerdam is not your average viewing food, but “Strange Blood” is too different. Unbalanced and surreal.
“Strange Blood” revolves around a butcher’s family. Pa (Opbrouck) is a tyrant who wants nothing more than to have his sons take over the business. When his offspring rebel, his hope is pinned to Child (Naber), the youngest of the bunch. The sensitive boy does not like to go into the butcher shop. Director Johan Timmers has captured a story about disrupted parent-child relationships. However, the classic story is different from what you normally expect from such coming of age dramas.
Timmers works with strange, almost caricatural characters and many quiet moments in which there is no speaking. The surreal atmosphere and the strange images provide a unique viewing experience that unfortunately does not convince across the board. The acting is good, but the characters cannot be taken seriously, which results in a number of tragicomic scenes that unfortunately not all convince. The virtually absent soundtrack does not make the film very attractive either. Still, the unique presentation is interesting enough to keep following. By the way, Opbrouck plays very strongly and knows how to give the strange butcher something tragic. The massive brute has something fragile.
“Strange Blood” is certainly not a classic, but this is a movie with balls. Timmers tries to create something special. He is forgiven for not producing a perfect film. Instead of filming a musical or a weak youth film, the director chooses the difficult road and that can only be praised.