Begins with a visually stunning hunting scene where the protagonist Camiel Borgman awakens from his underground shelter, ready to do his gig. He walks through the sealed-off streets of modern Dutch suburbia and stops with a random knock on a door.
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A film conundrum. Is it a morality-bent fable? Or about the horrors that lurk under suburbia? Does it have a supernatural, folklore bent? Is it about the subverting of capitalist greed, materialism, and modernity? One of my favorite reviews on imdb.com says it is actually about social upset and hysteria in Europe surrounding terrorism. But it's too subjective to be properly deep and provoking, or emotionally moving.
I read an interview with Buñuel in which he tells about one of his great inspirations, the Marquis de Sade. Buñuel: “de Sade commited his crimes only in his imagination as a way to free himself from his criminal tendencies. The imagination can afford all the liberties. It’s something different if you committed these crimes in real life. The imagination is free, man is not. In a way this opened my eyes.” - A.V.W.
If you ever find yourself waking up from a bad dream, with a strange pressing pain in your chest, trying desperately to catch your breath, well... there's lots of names for that, ja-thoom, bakhtak, incubus, mare or, even better, alp... but in the end it might be Borgman.
Weird blend of morality play and home invasion thriller with a subtext perhaps of the supernatural or folklore. The problem is it never really seems to transcend the weird to become anything special. Leaving far too many questions the film becomes a two hour exercise in futility and disappointment...for its viewers. Atmospheric and strange but nothing more.
Splendid. Alex Van Warmerdam reinvents the home invasion genre, turning into home assimilation. Perverse and twisted, it could only come from Holland. An American director would have explained every details, ruining the film. So many allegories, symbols, and metaphors await interpretation, including the failures of modernism, class struggle, masculinity Borgman is one of the best fairy tales of the decade.
Watching this group of crazy characters interact with each others for nearly 2 hours was just dreadful. Weird husband, weird wife, weird kids, weird nanny, not to mention Borgman himself and his crew...There's just too many bizarre scenes and people and not enough tension/mystery/plausibility. The most interesting thing to me was the amazing house, its surroundings and the way they got rid of dead bodies.
Tedious entry in the Teorema tradition of mysterious strangers infiltrating the lives of upper class families & wreaking havoc while exposing their empty existences. My existence may be empty but less so than this film with its shallow characters, strenuously contrived weirdness, unconvincing dialogue, & lazy plotting. If it’s dark satire, it’s neither sharp nor funny. If it’s psychological horror, it lacks bite.
Absurd and darkly humorous tale of morality, evil and purity. At one point I saw Borgman as a type of disease or neural disorder slowly infecting a house. The same way in which the couple who wish to keep their relationship sacred need to keep up firm walls to protect it from outside influences, hence the line about honesty. Once the couple are dysfunctional things degenerate quickly. Enjoyable 3.5 stars