With a brief release around last Christmas, Black Book kind of got lost in the holiday film shuffle, and that was a shame, as it became the most successful film in Dutch history. Set at the end of World War II, with the Allies' advance coming fast, the story follows Rachel (Carice van Houten), a young Jewish woman waiting out the war hiding on a farm. When a stray bomb blows her cover, her journey of sorrow and betrayal begins.
A hasty getaway goes horribly wrong, so Rachel changes her identity (new name, Ellis; new hair color, blonde). She joins the resistance alongside the charismatic Hans. A singer in Berlin before the war, Ellis knows how to use her charms (which are on full display throughout the film) to her advantage and seduces a prominent Nazi. Once undercover in the halls of power, she begins to unravel the mystery of who is betraying her people -- both the hidden Jews of The Hague and the resistance fighters.
Black Book is so engrossing -- shot so beautifully, acted so well, with such exciting action sequences and plot twists -- you don't even notice you're reading subtitles. But what makes it something rare is that it combines historical truth with Hollywood polish. That makes the film a tad melodramatic at times, and fantastical in the way action films generally are, but it's an entertaining brew, handled deftly by a filmmaker who deserves to be appreciated. (Rated R)