Saturday, April 2, 2016

D'Ardennen (The Ardennes) (2015)

Director: Robin Pront
Writers:  Jeroen Perceval, Robin Pront
Cast:      Veerle Beatens, Jan Bijvoet, Eric Godon, Jeroen Perceval
Language: Dutch (Flemish)

A brutal home-jacking goes hopelessly wrong. Dave, one of the two robbers, manages to run off, leaving his brother Kenneth behind. Four years later, Kenneth is released from prison and much has changed. Dave has his life back on track and is trying to help Kenneth however possible, but is witnessing how the highly strung Kenneth tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, who is actually dating his brother now. 

The film really meanders at the beginning which terrifically sets up the brilliant last act as it becomes more stylized gradually. On that regard, it reminded me of the film 'The Guest', which also had a terrific soundtrack. The basic plot doesn't seem much but it is a gripping watch and we don't usually see protagonists who belong to this social class, in Western films, unless it is dealing with drugs. TBF, Belgian films that I have seen mostly features such social class (Broken Circle Breakdown, Rundskop). It was not surprising to see Michael R. Roskam's, director of Rundskop, name during the end credits.  Another great thing about this film is that is that it is not very expositionary and we are left to piece together the puzzle of what happened over the years. The first few minutes of the film features three different time period over the four years. It is a very confident way of film-making. 

The characters are played excellently by all concerned and you also get to see Jan Bijvoet, who was in Borgman. The actor who played Dave, Jeroen Perceval, was also involved with the screenplay of it. This film is highly recommended for people who like intense indie down to earth thrillers. 

Rating: 4/5