By Dirk Sonniksen | February 20, 2014
Writer(s): Gerben Hellinga (novel Merg en Been), Melle Runderkamp (story), Melle Runderkamp (written by), Luuk Frank van Meerde (script contributions), Bert Nijdam (script contributions), Maarten Kuit (script contributions)
Starring: Raymond Thiry, Kim van Kooten, Bas Keijzer, Renee Fokker, Edmond Classen, Willie Wartaal
Jos (Raymond Thiry) wakes to a bad scene and it’s not going to get any better. The night before is a complete blur, but one thing is certain—20 kilos of cocaine are missing and everyone is pointing the finger at Jos. Enter Vlad (Simon Armstrong), ex-ballet dancer, ex-fighter, current bowling alley owner, and brutal gangster that’s wants his 20 kilos of cocaine and has given Jos very little time to recover said drugs. And so Jos sets off on a journey that will take him into the depths of the criminal element, including dealings with a geriatric bad guy, axe-wielding vixens, and dog grooming drug dealers. Meanwhile, his bride-to-be, Caroline (Kim van Kooten), waits with bated breath as Jos runs himself ragged searching for the missing blow.
A Dutch flick, Black Out is reminiscent of those films we’ve come to enjoy like Sexy Beast, Layer Cake, Pulp Fiction and the like. It’s a masterful tale of double-cross after double-cross that starts out fast and accelerates into a wonder of characters that collide haphazardly throughout out the film, all determined to make a quick buck from the elusive cocaine, or save their skins finding it. It’s a blistering ride that draws Jos back into the lowlife, leaving bodies strewn across the city.
Black Out may seem like a film centered on drugs, but cocaine is merely the device employed so that our cast can race through the streets of Rotterdam and Holland, creating some fantastic nail-biting moments, clever dialogue, and comedy that helps to dull down the violence in the film. While Black Out does have its share of violence, the bloodshed is on-par with other films of this particular brand.
It could be said that Black Out mimics some of the aforementioned films, but director Arne Toonen manages to make this film his own by inserting a slew of unique, exciting characters into a slick caper that keeps you guessing, grimacing, and laughing. Up to this point Toonen’s experience has been confined mainly to short films and TV series, with Black Out being his first fairly big budget endeavor. With that in mind, I would consider Black Out quite an accomplishment, and as long as Toonen doesn’t repeat these types of films over and over, he should be an interesting director to watch for in the future.