Netherlands | Belgium 2016
Opening October 20, 2016
Directed by: Alex van Warmerdam
Writing credits: Alex van Warmerdam
Principal actors: Tom Dewispelaere, Alex van Warmerdam, Maria Kraakman, Gene Bervoets, Annet Malherbe, Pierre Bokma
Much to his chagrin, Schneider (Van Warmerdamb) agrees on his birthday—his first faux pas—to a rush job, after Mertens (Bervoets) insists it is imperative; the contract must be executed today. A straightforward dispatch, the writer Ramon Bax (Dewispelaere) lives alone in a secluded area. An in/out job, Mertens swears. So, promising his wife (Loes Haverkort) to return with time to help set up his party—second faux pas—Schneider gets to work. Concurrently, a hung-over Bax starts the day with his young inamorata (Eva van de Wijdeven), forgetting two important, scheduled details. One arrives (Kraakman), depressed and in need of her father, whereas the other… As time progresses, nothing goes as Schneider planned, and no one is as he/she should be. The icing on the cake is a hostage he unwillingly must take, and the solidarity among like-minded individuals.
The multi-talented writer-director-actor Alex van Warmerdam delivers an energetic, darkly humorous thriller. Eliciting our sympathy is the hitman as the plot thickens, additional combative quirky characters crop up, and the pace accelerates. Dutch marshes landscape provide a uniquely askew backdrop much favored by Van Warmerdam that Tom Erisman’s sultry camerawork encapsulates, and Job ter Burg’s editing and Geert Paredis art direction match. Following screenings at a slew of festivals in 2015, including FilmFest Hamburg, Schneider vs. Bax is now in mainstream cinemas, whereby wider audiences can enjoy this intricately scripted, zany black comedy. 96 minutes (Marinell H.)