The Sixth of May
Theo Van Gogh also carries with him a fair amount of controversy, mainly for another film he made which exposed the way in which women are treated within Islam and was murdered by Islamic militants.
As the photographer investigates the events and the photos he's taken, he begins to unravel the conspiracy and discovers the truth behind the events, a truth that involves the Dutch and American governments. As he tries to find out the truth he teams up with an animal rights activist who may well be involved, and he and his daughter begin to be threatened by unusual government figures.
Unfortunately it's very apparent that if you don't know about Dutch politics at the time of the assassination then there's a lot lost from the power of the thriller. That's exactly how I felt when I watched it, that there were moments that if I'd known about politician and his background, perhaps I would have felt more involved and that the stakes were higher than they were.
This could have been done by the film for those who aren't aware of the events and background of the politician, however it does seem to assume that you carry a fair amount of background knowledge. Without this I didn't feel the importance of the situation from the opening moments.
There also seems to be a lot of moments and signals that point to the conspiracy or would move the idea of the conspiracy onwards which slip by unnoticed. It seemed that there were a number of points that we saw later in the film which would have been great hints and clues if they had been shown earlier on in the film, allowing the audience to make connections earlier on and make them feel as though they were part of the unraveling of the conspiracy.
These issues aside it was still a good thriller, although it could have been stronger. The plot does develop well, and it builds multiple threads and weaves them together well, often at the same time and without the need to over explain the events rather than let you witness them and draw your own conclusions.
The leads are strong and provide convincing performances, but they aren't helped by the feeling of danger that they should be under. The tension doesn't quite hit the mark for me though. You can see the level rising, but it never feels as though the characters are in real danger, even though you know how bad the situation really would be.
The film looked good and there were some nicely shot moments. The integration of television interviews and news reports with the film worked well, and the picture looked good when upscaled to 1080p.
Dolby Digital 2.0
The sound is only in stereo, which is a bit of a let down on a DVD release these days.
I found that this was a good film which had so much more potential and could have been a superb thriller, it just didn't quite pull it together to keep the tension high enough, or build up the connections in the early stages, and with the poor offering on DVD, it didn't really rate a higher score.