Director: Menno Meyjes
Genre: Drama/ Thriller
Runtime: 87 minutes
Starring: Jacob Derwig, Thekla Reuten, Daan Schuurmans, Kim van Kooten
Description: Paul and Claire (Jacob Derwig, Thekla Reuten) are a couple. Paul is a failed history teacher who has put his heart and soul into his family and is now confronted with the vulnerability of this happiness. His wife Claire constantly drags him away from the edge and stops at nothing to protect her family. His brother Serge (Daan Schuurmans) is married to Babette (Kim van Kooten). Serge is a politician in the running to become Prime Minister. Babette is the lioness, supposed to be sleeping by his side. At a family dinner the avoid everything they actually need to discuss: a huge family drama.
Review: “Het Diner” is the adaptation of the successful novel written by Herman Koch. The film is actually split in two storylines: the personality of lead character Paul and the crime. One a bit better than the other.
Paul is a failed history teacher and a house father with a special view on the world. In the opening dialogue he is trying to explain the dean of his sons school his visions. His bizarre, funny and provocative thoughts are very intelligent and a pleasure to listen too. And throughout the film you are treated by those theories of his.
Jacob Derwig, who plays Paul, shines and is the star of the film. His voice-over doesn’t bother you and is very powerful. He sometimes even breaks the fourth wall.
The other part of the film, which contains the other actors, is about Paul and his brother Serge who have dinner with their wives Claire and Babette. The reason they are there is to talk about the crime their sons have committed.
To make a story interesting, that is mostly set in one location, you will need a good director and great actors. All the actors succeed. Daan Schuurmans is perfect as the sleezy politician, Kim van Kooten is believable as ‘the wife of’ and Thekla Reuten is unpredictable as Claire. She even blows away her on screen husband Derwig at the end of the film.
The movie sometimes loses its power when the restaurant is traded for other locations, to show us the roles of the sons in the story. Sadly, that’s not a good choice, because the tension is with the parents in that restaurant, and not with the crime the sons have committed.
“Het Diner” is a solid thriller with some surprising twists and great performance by some of the best Dutch actors.
Rating: 4/ 5