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Black Book (Zwartboek) (2007)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 150
Fresh: 114 | Rotten: 36

A furious mix of sex, violence, and moral relativism, Black Book is shamelessly entertaining melodrama.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 11

A furious mix of sex, violence, and moral relativism, Black Book is shamelessly entertaining melodrama.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 36,931

My Rating

Movie Info

"Black Book" tells the moving story of a young Jewish woman who joins the Resistance in The Hague and gets entangled in a deadly web of double-dealing and betrayal. It is is an epic thriller of great courage and fierce emotion--played out against the dying, explosive months of WW II.


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Paul Verhoeven, Gerard Soeteman

Sep 25, 2007


Sony Picture Classics - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Black Book (Zwartboek)

February 9, 2011:
Paul Verhoeven Enrolls Halle Berry for The Student
Paul Verhoeven will direct Halle Berry in "The Student," a sexual thriller about an affair between a...
December 19, 2007:
No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood Top Critics' Lists in Toronto, San Diego, Austin
The parade of critics' year-end best-of lists continued yesterday, with panels in Toronto, San...


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All Critics (155) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (114) | Rotten (36) | DVD (22)

A hard-core war film with raw violence, intense action, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises.

September 1, 2007 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Verhoeven never loses sight of the larger message -- that in those evil times, ordinary people were forced to do extraordinary, and even awful, things just to live long enough to tell their tale.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Paul Verhoeven's WWII drama stars the lovely Dutch actress Carice van Houten as a Jewish Resistance worker, and costars her breasts. All three deserve awards consideration.

April 30, 2007 Full Review
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The happy ending demands that [Verhoeven's] return-journey film -- Black Book -- be a rousing artistic triumph. It isn't. Too many of his lazy Hollywood habits have followed him home.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insanely entertaining -- and often just plain insane -- World War II melodrama. You may hate yourself in the morning, but you'll have to admit Verhoeven gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Black Book doesn't let the grim facts of the Holocaust get in the way of some ripping pulp.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The handsomely mounted, heedlessly pulpy modernist World War II thriller that "The Good German" and "Valkyrie" failed to be - a dizzying rush of daring rescues, sexual intrigue, treachery, betrayal, gunfights, hasty conclusions and harrowing consequences.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

It's the last thing a Verhoeven film should be: tasteful

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A slick, thrilling, trashy, melodramatic and serialesque soap opera adventure which conceals the complex tale of moral ambiguity beneath.

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Beyond Hollywood
Beyond Hollywood

While gleefully turning all prior war movie stereotypes on their heads, Verhoeven opts for the bizarre theory that ravishing designing women and lots of sex can change the course of world history.

March 6, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

There are a lot of plot twists at the end of the film, maybe too many, but it will keep you guessing.

January 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Verhoeven simplesmente mantém sua obsessão habitual com sexo e violência (geralmente combinando os dois), mas sem qualquer sofisticação narrativa ou visual.

January 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena | Comment (1)
Cinema em Cena

It's engaging as an espionage thriller and as a story of courage and determination.

January 5, 2008 Full Review Source:

(...) A uno le parece estar viendo más un detrás de cámaras que una película en serio, esperando que el director grite "corten" en cualquier momento y que el equipo aplauda por lo bien que salió la toma.

October 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total | Comments (2)
Uruguay Total

Mature WWII drama taps into base human instinct.

October 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Pulpy, almost James Bond-like in its mix of spy thrills, action, sex, intrigue, and bold characters.

October 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Although Verhoeven's plot seems far-fetched at times, it is based on actual history and casts doubt on the "Good War" mythology of films like "Saving Private Ryan".

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source:

Its failings are substantial, yet the fact that it's overblown and incredible doesn't entirely outweigh the fact that it's also exciting, fascinating, sexy, and thrilling.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Confronts us with an ugly humanity that is nevertheless unnervingly human.

September 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

It's an outrageous idea, but Verhoeven carries it off, largely on the charisma of his actors' performances.

August 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

[Director] Verhoeven proves a sure-handed storyteller, which might come as a surprise, as well as a terrific visual stylist, which shouldn't.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

It's a bombshell of a film %u2013 riveting from start to finish and great entertainment to boot

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Carice van Houten is an astonishing find, and if someone were on the ball she'd be world famous sooner rather than later.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Contains the violence, nudity and sex we expect from a movie by Paul Verhoeven, but moves with the narrative drive and surprise of a war film from decades past.

June 19, 2007
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Verhoeven porte un regard des plus évocateurs sur les nombreuses nuances de la Seconde Guerre mondiale

June 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Panorama

Audience Reviews for Black Book (Zwartboek)

Paul Verhoeven has made some tremendous Science Fiction action films such as Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers. With Black Book he does a significant departure from that genre, and directs quite possibly one of his most powerful films. This is a standout drama, a breath of fresh air from a director who has always seemed to make action films and Sci Fi films. If y6ou enjoy Verhoeven's work, but want something quite different, then Black Book i8s a great choice. Set during the Second World War, and follows the Dutch resistance as they infiltrate the local Gestapo headquarters, Black Book is a fine mix of drama and thrills and has enough twists to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This is a superbly acted film, and captivating and highly entertaining from start to finish. Black Book is a fine drama that is steadily paced, and it's a well layered film that doesn't have a single dull moment. Overall, it's a powerful picture, one that will stick with you long after you've seen it, and warrants multiple viewings as well. Verhoeven crafts something quite unique here, and it is a riveting drama, one of his finest yet, and considering that his last great movie was Basic Instinct (Starship Troopers was good, but it didn't compare to other previous works directed by Paul Verhoeven), Black Book is a richly detailed film, one that you can get thoroughly involved in, as it will leave you guessing into a tightly woven web of thrills. I would easily put this picture as one of Verhoeven's best, and it's a film that never ceases to amaze.
July 18, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Verhoeven's look at a Jewish/Dutch woman's survival through the Nazi occupation of Holland is nothing less than an out and out valentine to Nederland herself, a knife cutting both ways about what it takes to survive, the sacrifices made, and living with yourself afterwards. I loved it.
July 28, 2012

Super Reviewer

The good "Once upon a time in the nazi occupied... Holland" as Tarantino jokingly called his WW2 Leone wannabe revenge epic fiasco. Unlike him, Paul Verhoeven wrote a better screenplay, intense and twisty, and his execution has much of what he is famous for, sex and violence showed in a fun, unashamed manner.
June 30, 2012

Super Reviewer

I feel like it could have ended about 50 times. While it's sexy and dangerous and all that fun stuff, it did feel a trifle self-indulgent. I think that's how a lot of biopics turn out.
May 2, 2011

Super Reviewer

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