Review: The Point (2010)


The Point (2010)

Directed by: Hanro Smitsman | 81 minutes | drama | Actors: Terence Schreurs, Martin Schwab, Gerson Oratmangoen, Anis de Jong, Marie-Louise Stheins, Kees Hulst, Bart Klever, Sophie van Oers, Joost Bolt, Ferdi Stofmeel, Joshua Timisela, Rudy Tuhusela, René van Zinnicq Bergmann, Delano Limaheluw, Ambonwhena Aratuaman, Joenoes Polnaija, Stefan de Jong, Peter Drost, Wim Bouwens, Martijn Apituley, Nel Lekatompessy, Jaap Spijkers, René van Asten, Hans Trentelman, Lex van Delden, Frederik de Groot, Han Kerckhoffs, Roger Goudsmit

In 1977, two years after the train hijacking near Wijster, a second train hijacking took place, this time near the town of De Punt in Drenthe. In 2009, one year after the premiere of Telefilm ‘Wijster’ (Paula van der Oest), about the first train hijacking by Moluccan freedom fighters, ‘De Punt’ made its debut on TV. Sylvia Pessireron and Carel Donck signed for the screenplay, Hanro Smitsman was hired for the direction, who made a big impression in 2008 with ‘Skin’, also a Telefilm.

‘De Punt’ shows the (fictional, but fact-based) story of both the Moluccan and the Dutch side. The present and the past are intelligently intertwined. At the center is Noor Pattipamena (Terence Schreurs), the only female hijacker, who has the dubious honor of having entered the history books as the first Dutch female terrorist (the real Norwegian is called Hansina Uktolseja). The invitation of the television program With Other Eyes, in which the train hijacking, and especially Norway’s role in it, is central, rekindles the feelings and memories of various people involved. In flashbacks, not chronological by the way, we see what prompted Noor to report to the group of friends as a hijacker and also how she tried with all her might not to kill the hostages. Noor’s father moves further and further away from her with his obstinate attitude. The 22-year-old Yvonne is also followed. She is one of the train passengers, who cautiously befriends Noor – a friendship that, however, cannot blossom due to Norwegian’s untimely death. We see how the young soldier Nico van Vliet struggles with his urge to guard civilians. Finally, Kees Hulst plays the role of Minister of Justice Dries van Agt, both in the images from 1977 and the present. Van Agt played an important role in the government’s decision to intervene violently in this hijacking. The consequences of that military intervention are not bad: two passengers were killed and six of the nine hijackers – including Noor – were killed in the storm.

Smitsman wanted ‘De Punt’ to show the human side of the hijackers and in that respect the film is more than successful. The group of hijackers is shown as a bunch of young idealists, who in their naivety have no idea what they are getting into and cannot foresee the consequences of their act. Although their act is of course not acceptable, it does lead to more understanding of their motives among the viewer. ‘De Punt’ does not take a position and that is nice. The acting is generally good to very strong. Terence Schreurs is nice to look at, but the other female role is also great: Yvonne Verweij, the young variant well played by Sophie van Oers, but Marie-Louise Stheins especially convinces with her powerful convincing playing. Anis de Jong, who plays Norwegian father Tjak, is also excellently cast and both Gerson Oratmangoen, who plays the young Koen, and Martin Schwab, who plays the older Koen, Noor’s forbidden love, put in a fine performance. In addition, the film is beautifully shot, attention to details, interesting compositions, the use of color filters: well done. Nice that this piece of Dutch history is once again brought to the attention in a film that shows the case in such a compelling way from both perspectives. ‘De Punt’ captivates from start to finish.

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