Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Surprise

This is a charming European romantic comedy and a breath of fresh air compared to the drab trail which dribble out of Hollywood. It's smart, beautifully acted, funny, dark, wonderfully directed, shot and scripted. It's a delightful Sunday afternoon's entertainment with plenty of nods to 1960's RomComs, particularly the ones set in Europe and featuring Audrey Hepburn. Even the clothes, sets, furniture and surroundings belong there!

The basic story here is that rich-boy Jacob (Jeroen van Koningsbrugge) has had enough of life after his mother dies and signs up to an Assisted Suicide outfit who vow to bump him off in a way, at a time and in a place that he knows nothing of. Hence The Surprise. However, along comes Anne (Georgina Verbaan) who has similar outlooks on life and death and entwines her similar wishes with his. But of course, nothing's simple in romcomland and they fall for each other and want to live! The trick then is to try and call off the hit! More mayhem and confusion!

As the film develops, it's so obvious that it's cut above the average tripe as the development of the scenes and camerawork are executed in a way that only seems to be possible in European cinema. It exudes class and considered production culminating in a most satisfying, amusing and dark adventure. There are some subtitles, but about half of it is also English spoken.

I have to admit to not knowing any of the actors, nor the work they have previously and since been involved with, but I shall look out for them now. The film appears to be set in Brussels, Belgium, but everyone seems to be Dutch, including the director, Mike van Diem, actors and sponsorship money! Highly recommended and a veritable oasis in an arid desert of the usual RomCom genre.

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