Seeking out the

5000 greatest films

in a century of cinema


Directed by Alex van Warmerdam
Produced by Marc van Warmerdam
Written by Alex van Warmerdam
With: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Alex van Warmerdam, Tom Dewispelaere, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, and Pierre Bokma
Cinematography: Tom Erisman
Editing: Job ter Burg
Music: Vincent van Warmerdam
Runtime: 113 min
Release Date: 29 August 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color: Color

Dutch writer/director Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman is an intriguing blend of domestic drama and crime thriller. Evoking equal parts Michael Haneke, David Lynch, and Jean Renoir, yet distinctively singular in its approach, Borgman tells the story of an interloper who has a profound effect on the upper-class family whose lives he takes over. The pitch black comedy is tinged with elements of horror and psychological nightmare, which succeed in unhinging the audience with its creepy, unpredictable narrative. A few of the film’s images are as striking as anything I’ve seen on screen in many years. We never fully enter the world of Borgman, because some of the characters’ motivations are not made credibly understandable to a point where we can fully buy into their actions. Thus the audience watches this film from a somewhat reserved distance. But this is not a movie interested in being entirely logical or authentically scary. Warmerdam’s goal seems more to be subversive, shocking, and funny--in this he succeeds.