Alex van Warmerdam’s “Borgman,” the 2014 Dutch Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, is a nasty, insane, mind-melting and unpredictable piece of work. Starting with Cannes, it dazzled, and perplexed, the festival circuit heavily last year, and it’s now coming to select cities on June 6, i.e. this Friday, courtesy of who-else-but Drafthouse Films. (Trailer below.)
A dark suburban fairytale that takes cues from Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”) and Michael Haneke (“Funny Games”), while firmly remaining its own strange beast, “Borgman” hovers perilously over a stiff upper-class family whose bearings are unmoored by the appearance of a mysterious vagrant fellow (Jan Bijvoet).
As housewife (and would-be expressionist painter) Marina (played with hinged intensity Hadewych Minis) — who the stranger claims to know from a past life, or something — slowly starts losing her shit, plagued by nightmares of murder and domestic mayhem, the dastardly Borgman has his own malevolent tricks up his sleeve, along with a gaggle of anonymous minions, and ultimately no hands, not even the children’s, are clean.
It’s all wildly ambiguous and whacked-out, but “Borgman” is a creepy blast from beginning to end. While its mysteries are impossible to keep up with, and catch onto, it’s certainly one of the year’s must-sees. Check out a clip here.