How the hell didn't I know Verhoeven had an 80's medieval action film in his filmography?! With Rutger Hauer?! This was in my eBay cart minutes after I discovered it. His trademark debauchery is on full, energetic, excessive display -- but we're never removed from it or ignorant to its consequences. Paul's movies are all about rubbing our noses in the perverted shit we're ashamed to admit we enjoy. "Guilty pleasure."
An irreverent and over-the-top vision of Medieval times, Flesh+Blood can be watched as a 15th century version of The Wild Bunch, where Verhoeven paints a ridiculously chaotic and implausible portrait of a group of pure scumbags, rapists and drunkards, and somewhat along the way manages to make them likeable. Add to it Jennifer Jason Leigh as the archetypal fair maiden and you got yourself a weird little gem.
This is probably the closest Verhoeven's come to directing a full blown comedy, at times it almost felt like a Monty Pythonish or if Ken Russell mad an action movie.The film goes to such grotesque lengths to show the liberties taken by noblemen and yet portrays it in a way that's light hearted and maybe even nostalgic. I wished the film was rerealsed today, being a stunning contrast to shit like Gladiator. Must see.
Oh, Verhoeven in the 80's. This is a movie that did not stand the test of time very well. Something about the rape victim enjoying the rape, and then raping him back. A lot of sex in this one. Of course Rutger and Leigh would team up again in 'The Hitcher' with much worse results.
Verhoeven's first English-language film is also one of his best. It turns the medieval epic on its head with its raucous energy, graphic sex and violence, and offbeat dark humor, while also managing a deep undercurrent of moral complexity and deftly-crafted tension - headlined by fiery performances by Rutger Hauer and a young Jennifer Jason Leigh, as well as a scene-stealing supporting cast. An extraordinary film.
Verhoeven seems good at convincing us the flaws of his films are other's faults - here Hauer and studios for pushing the martyrdom and romance. He excels at the slapstick circus of horrors which give this its bent viewpoint, but it fails when not in the mud, when crafting Da Vincian ladders, valorising Hauer. And he shows too much, uncomfortable sex that can't get a read on Leigh's agency. 2.5
CINEMA _ Verhoeven being Verhoeven. Breaking the rules, so ironic that it flirts at times with parody. The jokes are hard to swallow, you hear the anger, you feel the tension behind the action-hollywood-costume-you-name-it. It is all about dynamite : exploding the cliches, exposing the sentimentality. Another film about rape (somehow). Where a girl has to chose between sex and ideal (flesh and blood). Sex = weapon.