Monday, 23 March 2015

Can even the most violent gangster be redeemed? Review of The Resurrection of a Bastard (aka De Wederopstanding van een Klootzak) (2013)

The Resurrection of a Bastard (aka De Wederopstanding van een Klootzak (2013)
Director: Guido van Driel
Starring: Yorick van Wageningen, Goua Robert Grovogui, and Juda Goslinga
Running Time: 88 min

  So I saw the trailer for this, which i usually try and avoid but this dude does seem like a right violent bastard, so I'm going to have to check it out.  Although, not horror it does look like it has some disturbing crime stuff in it to make it enjoyable and I'm willing to give anything a shot that may contain anything that may pertain to weird senseless violence.

  A high level thug & money collector, Ronnie and his with his crony/bodyguard Janus are looking for the person that who tried to assassinate him a few months ago.  However, as they drive around the country side of Friesland, mmm fries land, Janus notices that Ronnie is not the complete douchebag violent thug he always is and continues to report Ronnie's change to the big boss, James Joyce.
  Before the attempt on his life, Ronnie had gone to pick up some one of the debtors for his boss, James Joyce with Janus and his other lackey.  The debtor didn't have the money but he was trying to get it by selling off his possessions.  As Ronnie and his team are "Persuading" this guy to pay up, they heard voices in the hall way coming closer.   Ronnie ran to the door and snatched a woman and her son and pulled them into the apartment.  The debtor tells Ronnie that they were just there to buy something from him but Ronnie starts bullying the little boy.  The mother attacked Ronnie but she got beaten to death in front of her son for her trouble.  Ronnie, then to put a point on the message that he is trying to send to the debtor, he uses the vacuum cleaner to suck out his eyeball.
  However, this thuggery doesn't go over so well with James Joyce, his boss.  Ronnie is brought into his office and is given a calm but very disturbing lecture about what to and not to do.  Ronnie takes his advice but doesn't let it phase him or his team.  However, a few nights later at a party at the "White Club", Ronnie is gunned down by a masked assassin in the mens' room.  Unfortunately/Fortunately, he doesn't die and is brought to a hospital in time.
  Meanwhile a refugee from Angola, Eduardo has settle down in Friesland trying to start a new life.  He seems to works for an elderly couple on a farm, who has recently taken in their grandson after their daughter was murdered.  He takes an interest in and sees a connection behind the local legends of Saint Boniface and his own African culture.   How will Eduardo and Ronnie's life intertwine?  What will happen if the new Ronnie ever finds the masked killer that tried to murder him?  Will he resurrect the bastard inside or will he turn the other cheek?

  This was pretty good and I really enjoyed the gangster elements of this film.  For his first full length film, I think that director Guido van Driel did a decent job telling this story of how a man, after a traumatic incident, can recognize things in his life and want to make a changes.  Also, I did like Eduardo story and think that there was something interesting going on, but it could have been fleshed out a little bit more.  However, the source material is from a graphic novel, written by
van Driel but there are always some lost converting things to the big screen.
   Yorick van Wageningen, say that three times fast (Blackhat, 47 Ronin), is perfect has the lead and has a brilliant look and feel for thuggery in this film.  He plays the bastard part brilliantly and must have had a fun filming this because his character comes off as such a jerk.  Also, you don't see as much of the James Joyce character but the late Jeroen Willems (Ocean's Twelve, It's All So Quiet) is rather deliciously evil has the head boss of this gang.  He negates any emotion, outside of anger, and plays the the role cold and calculating with such amazing grace.  Both performances are outstanding and the film is worth seeing just for those two. 

  However what I found difficult to understand was the correlation between Ronnie's story and Eduardo's outside of Eduardo just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Although, both stories work, I think it was hard for van Driel to really fuse them together seamlessly.  The ending is a little strange, avant-garde and I'm still wondering about it.
  Also, what I found a little challenging in this film is that I am unfamiliar with the religious lore of Friesland or the Netherlands.  This whole concept, from what I read was based on a graphic novel based on Saint Boniface created to celebrate his 1250 anniversary of his martyrdom.  van Driel does try and touch on this, giving a brief overview and background of Saint Boniface but I think some of the nuances of the film are lost on me with not growing up in this culture.  Of course not everybody is going to know everything about the culture of every country when it coems to watching films, that's impossible but here it seems a little more prevalent in the film.  It doesn't hurt the overall film but maybe a little research, or a visit to wikipedia may enhance and help give a clear understanding of the picture, especially the ending.

  With that said, I still think that with is a great film and the positive outweighs any confusing matter that may arise at the end.  This is a terrific film about the redemption of a violent gangster and highlights some incredible nastiness before his change.  As well as some remarkable acting from the entire cast but Yorick van Wageningen and the late Jeroen Willems are really stand out players here.  So, if you're looking for a new foreign crime flick that may alter your wicked ways, then throw this on and stay away from the vacuum cleaner.

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