Box art for Black Book

Black Book

drama, thrillers

In the darkest days of World War II, a Dutch Resistance cell enlists a sexy spy (Carice van Houten) to go undercover inside a Nazi strongholdwhere she discovers that the enemy is all too human.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Mature WWII drama taps into base human instinct.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this subtitled World War II drama from the director of Basic Instinct is intense from start to finish. Wartime takes its toll on all the characters, robbing them of their humanity. The lead character, Rachel/Ellis, sleeps with the enemy to infiltrate their turf, and people are dispensed with as the killers see fit. The violence is frequent and bloody, the sex is quite graphic, and characters swear, drink, and smoke.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the film's notions of good and evil. Are "bad guys" and "good guys" clearly delineated? Should they be? Also, what drives Ellis to place herself in the line of fire? Is it altruism or revenge? How could she fall in love with a Nazi, when Nazis killed her family? What drives a person to betray others for their own gain? Families also can discuss what this movie has in common, if anything, with director Paul Verhoeven's earlier, infamously sensationalistic films, like Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Does it share any characteristics with those movies? Do you think filmmakers have a certain style that affects all of their projects?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all Black Book reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Stout-hearted celebration of the Dutch Resistance or total smut? Try both.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, April 20, 2007

Fresh: Pushes all sorts of envelopes -- political, historical and erotic -- against the sanctified background of the Nazi Holocaust, hitherto unthinkable as the linchpin of a lively melodrama like Black Book.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Wednesday, April 18, 2007


- Ben Walters, Time Out, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Audience Reviews

5 stars

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.

- ApeneckFletcher, Saturday, July 28, 2012

3 stars

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.

- pier007, Saturday, June 30, 2012

3 stars

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.

- jennifxu, Monday, May 2, 2011