Erik Van Looy's film 'De Premier' (The Prime Minister) has a special meaning since election day. It's about what could have been. In this movie, the American president is a woman, travelling to the Belgian capital on a state visit. While she's there, her life is being threatened. It's clear that Van Looy is not a big fan of Donald Trump. Not only did he (sort of) anticipate a Clinton victory, he also inserted Trump's much quoted 'hellhole'-remark about Brussels in the film.
Don't get me wrong: this is not a political film. By no means. It's a thriller, and a very exciting one. In the pre-release promotion material, Van Looy promised us a roller-coaster ride. I must admit: there is no chance of boredom, not for even one millisecond. Right from the start, Van Looy gets the story going. And he doesn't release his grip on the audience until the very end. The story moves ahead as powerful as a cannon ball and as straightforward as a freight train.
The film is about the Belgian prime minister, who is forced to kill the American president. The reason is clear: he is the only one with direct access to the president. The killing is supposed to take place during a private encounter, without any bodyguards around. In order to make him pull the trigger, the villains kidnapped his wife and two young children, and threaten to kill them if he doesn't obey. During the course of a day, the prime minister and his female assistant try everything they can to outsmart the villains, but to no avail. The question who will get killed in the end, keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
There is one weakness: the plot is completely unrealistic. The idea of forcing one government leader to kill another, is in itself grotesque. But halfway through the film, it gets even more ridiculous when the identity of the criminal organization behind the whole set-up is revealed. An awkward piece of dialogue is meant to explain it all, but the suspension of disbelief is stretched to its limits.
On the other hand: once you've accepted this, you're in for an very exciting film. The locations are well chosen, the whole film looks very stylish, and there is no lack of suspense. The actors do a good job: Koen De Bauw as the prime minister mixes despair about the fate of his family with the dignity that comes with the job. But Stijn Van Opstal delivers by far the best acting performance as one of the villains. He is creepy and funny at the same time.
Anyhow, whenever the American president comes to Brussels, this is a nice in-flight movie for him to watch. It will have to be subtitled, because I think the chances of an American remake are limited.
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
The Belgian prime minister is kidnapped. If he wants to be released, he must murder the American president.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 27, 2021 at 03:41 PM