Review: Borgman

A hairy enigma: Hadewych Minis as Borgman

Film Title: Borgman

Director: Alex van Warmerdam

Starring: Hadewych Minis

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 113 min

Thu, Feb 20, 2014, 17:25


One could programme an entire season of films based around the rough visitor who disrupts apparent bourgeois comfort. Joining Pasolini’s Theorem , Haneke’s Funny Games and – at a stretch – Renoir’s Boudu Saved from Drowning in our imaginary season, we now welcome Alex van Warmerdam’s off-kilter oddity from the Netherlands. After fleeing the apparently violent attentions of a priestly mob, the title character (Hadewych Minis) – a hairy enigma – calls at the door of a wealthy couple and requests the use of their bathroom. When Richard (Jeroen Perceval), the man of the house, refuses, an altercation breaks out that stimulates Marina (Hadewych Minis), Richard’s wife, to offer the wanderer shelter in one of their estate’s satellite buildings. Borgman sets about ingratiating himself with the family’s children and, after doing away with the troublesome gardener, manages to make some headway with Richard. The social satire is not always the subtlest, but the insidious rise of Borgman is played to sinister effect. The film is also blackly funny in a way that only our north European friends can manage. A minor classic from the worm-in-the apple genre.

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