Borgman

(Netherlands, 2013, 113 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Dewispelaere
PROD Marc van Warmerdam
SCR Alex van Warmerdam
CAM Tom Erisman
ED Job ter Burg
PROD DES Geert Paredis
MUS Vincent van Warmerdam
PROD CO Angel Films / Epidemic / Graniet Film BV
Classification:

Showtimes

We’re introduced to the vagrant trickster Camiel Borgman (Jan Bijvoet) as a marauding priest flushes him out from his underground lair. Seeking refuge in an affluent household, he’s violently refused entry. However, Borgman is not easily deterred. Returning with some unholy cohorts in tow, he sets about playing Haneke-on-hallucinogens-style funny games, methodically terraforming the property and similarly warping the psyches of the bourgeois residents.

Alex van Warmerdam’s outrageous provocation similarly casts an enthralling spell, slowly corrupting us the same way its titular imp seduces the family’s comely matriarch (Hadewych Minis). As a result, we begin to derive perverse pleasure from the macabre manner in which this artful devil disposes of his victims. And, the longer we spend inside this sterile residence with its sanctimonious owners, the more we’re inclined to align ourselves with Borgman and back his abstract brand of class warfare. Be assured, van Warmerdam’s deranged film makes good on its promise that “there’s going to be chaos.” What makes it so unsettling is that it leaves us craving the mayhem.

"Sly, insidious and intermittently hilarious… it’s tempting to classify [Borgman] as another entry in the increasingly popular subgenre of the home-invasion thriller, but that would misrepresent the film’s more complex premise. ‘Home inveigling’ or even ‘home infection’ would be closer to the mark…”—Guy Lodge, Variety

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