Before being murdered for the crime of insulting the “religion of peace”, Theo Van Gogh proved he was a growing voice defending the West. R.I.P.
Should I see it?
Director: Theo van Gogh
Writers: Theo van Gogh and Tomas Ross
Starring: Thijs Römer, Tara Elders and Cahit Ölmez
Dutch filmmaker and journalist Theo Van Gogh (great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the brother of Vincent van Gogh) was a vocal critic of Islam and its subjugation of women. His criticism most notably took the form of a 10-minute short film titled Submission (the translation of “Islam”) in 2004. The film presented nude women with Quranic texts written on their skin in henna tattoos. Completely out of character with his belief system and its history, a Muslim overreacted.
On November 2nd, 2004 amateur film critic, Mohammed Bouyeri, a practitioner of the modern and intellectually rigorous “religion of peace”, shot director Theo Van Gogh eight times. Bouyeri proceeded to nearly decapitate Van Gogh and then embedded two knives in the dead man’s chest.
Van Gogh’s last film, 06/05 fictionalizes the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and places it within the context of a murder mystery. Fortuyn was a former communist politician who took a stridently anti-Mulsim immigration stance. For his opinions, Fortuyn was assassinated by environmental radical Volkert van der Graaf, who took exception to Fortuyn’s views that the “religion of peace” may not be as peaceful as everybody wants.
Van Gogh’s film is a slow, brewing story of intrigue and murder. This is not a masterwork by any means, but it is strong in some respects. The performances are passable and not engaging. There is a feeling that some of the actors are untrained, while others seem out of sorts in the scenes they are performing. Worse still, Van Gogh’s script comes across as unfinished and unfocused. Beyond these usually fatal deficiencies, Van Gogh’s talent for the quiet, personal moments between characters gives this film life and is the reasons for my recommendation.
You will not watch this and be blown away by a great piece of art. What you will find is a film made by someone whose potential was cut down far too early. He was a thoughtful filmmaker who was clearly moving towards even more impressive works. I can’t imagine someone who could form delicate scenes like those found in this film and not develop into a serious international voice.
In the end, we’ll never know what he could have become. Theo got religion of peaced to death for having an opinion.