Nr. 10 (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Black comedy
Director: Alex van Warmerdam
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 97 minutes

Nr. 10 (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Great acting, Very good balance between comedy and drama
Bad: The plot twist leads to a lot of loose ends
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Nr. 10 is a co-production between Belgium and the Netherlands, and it is a movie directed and written by the Dutch Alex van Warmerdam. It’s the tenth movie he’s made, so that might explain the title choice. Van Warmerdam is known for exploring darker themes with humor in his works and Nr. 10 is something between a drama and a black comedy as a result. Though the plot twist in the middle of the movie might be a bit too ‘out there’ for larger audiences to take seriously.

We start the movie by getting to know our main character Günter (wonderfully played by famous actor Tom Dewispelaere). Overall he’s a very average guy. He’s just a single dad who is stuck in a boring job and acts in theatre productions in his free time. He’s having an affair with the stage director’s wife and his teenage daughter Izzy (Frieda Barnhard) is encountering health issues, so there’s plenty of drama to go around, which the movie focuses on at first. It’s quickly revealed, however, that there is one extraordinary thing about Günter. When he was four years old, he was found in a German forest with no parents to be seen or found. He was raised in a foster family but still wonders where he truly came from. Then a strange man whispers a single word into his ears while passing him on the street, and Günter might find the answers he has been looking for all along.

As we mentioned above, about halfway into the movie, there is an important twist. We won’t spoil it here, but to give you a general idea, it’s the kind of thing that completely changes the genre of the movie. Suddenly, fantastical elements are added to what seemed to be a realistic story, turning it into science fiction. Whether you like this is subjective, though the execution leaves us with more questions rather than answers in the end, which is a bit of a letdown. So many plot threads set up in the first part end up being unexplained, or straight up unimportant in the long run.

The movie itself is certainly not bad though, even if the plot elements of the second half aren’t to your tastes. The filming reminds us of an avant-garde movie, as it’s a little bit pretentious in how it frames its shots and leaves silences simmering. However, this is clearly intentional and part of the charm. It’s as if Van Warmerdam wants to make fun of people who take movies too seriously. It’s also wonderfully contrasted by the writing, which is very down-to-earth and human. The dialogue especially is well executed and sounds like things people would actually say, which is more than we can say for some other movies. The soundtrack is simple and never steals the show.

Another big factor that makes this movie enjoyable is the acting. The cast is comprised of Belgian and Dutch actors, most of them are very experienced and put down stellar performances. Even when the second half makes their character motivations seem kind of unbelievable, the actors carry on making it almost easy to swallow when you’re internally going “hey that doesn’t seem like a normal reaction to these events” while watching.

The DVD release of Nr. 10 does not come with any extras, which is certainly a pity. We’d be the first to admit that we’re not jumping up and down at all the director’s interviews that seem to be included in every release these days, but in this case, knowing what Van Warmerdam’s thought process was would have been interesting. To its credit, the movie does include a lot of different subtitles, more than we’re used to for most dutch-spoken movies.


Nr. 10 is a refreshing movie for sure. The acting is stellar and the directing was clearly done with a lot of thought put into things such as framing and atmosphere. The plot twist is one you’d either love or hate, with us falling more so on the ‘hate’ side of the spectrum. This is mainly because it seems to set up a lot of useless Red Herrings. But, you can’t deny it changes the context of the entire movie, and it perhaps does so in a way that will make you want to watch the film again to see if there were any hints you missed.

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