A bedtime story for nightmare-loving grownups
Director: Alex van Warmerdam
Cinematography: Tom Erisman
Starring: Halina Reijn, Jacob Derwig, Carmelo Gomez
Studio information: Home Vision, 103 minutes
Original Theatrical Release: 2004
Not to be confused with Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited The Brothers Grimm, this Dutch film ferments the dark essence of old-world fairy tales into a potent and very-adult black comedy. While sexuality and taboo behaviors are acknowledged subtext in cautionary tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, here those themes come to the forefront, blending with urban myths and the absurd. In the film, twentysomething siblings Jacob and Marie are abandoned by their parents in a forest while gathering wood. They set off to find their uncle and encounter a series of wolves, big and bad as well as sheepishly clothed. What really make the film work are van Warmerdam’s perverse sensibility, deadpan tone and artistic eye (which is also showcased in the brilliant short, Painting, included here as a bonus feature).