Paul Verhoeven

"Despite the excess of nudity and full-on sex that decorates several of his films, Paul Verhoeven's movies, like Old Dutch Masters, reveal themselves as sophisticated criticisms of hypocrisy, capitalist commerce, and gung-ho zealotry." - Ernest Mathijs (501 Movie Directors, 2007)

Paul Verhoeven

Director / Screenwriter
(1938- ) Born July 18, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: USA, Netherlands
Key Genres: Thriller, Sci-Fi Action, Science Fiction, Drama, Psychological Thriller, War Drama, War, Resistance Film, Action, Erotic Drama, Erotic Thriller
Key Collaborators: Jost Vacano (Cinematographer), Gerard Soeteman (Screenwriter), Alan Marshall (Producer), Jan De Bont (Cinematographer), Dolf De Vries (Leading Character Actor), Rutger Hauer (Leading Actor), Rob Houwer (Producer), Mark Goldblatt (Editor), Ine Schenkkan (Editor), Frank J. Urioste (Editor), Basil Poledouris (Composer), Jerry Goldsmith (Composer)

"Paul Verhoeven PhD (physics) has, it seems, always been fascinated by voyeuristic sex, even in his earlier Dutch films such as Turkish Delight (1973), The Fourth Man (1979) and Spetters (1980). However, after arriving in the US on a tide of dollars, either he or his producers had the bright idea of replacing the sex with violence (a taste much more to Hollywood's liking), leading to two mega hits, Robocop (1987) and Total Recall (1990). Basic Instinct (1992) marked a partial return to Verhoeven's original roots (if that is the right word) combining sex, violence and voyeurism to produce a third major commercial winner." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"Paul Verhoeven, a director of international acclaim who has achieved both critical and commercial success, is also one of Hollywood’s most controversial. His films, characterized stylistically by his use of deep focus, Christian iconography, and sensuous mise en scène, are perhaps better known for their graphic representations of violence and sexuality." - Frances Gateward (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)
"When he left for Hollywood in 1986, Verhoeven was the most successful Dutch director of the century… Verhoeven's passion for spectacle and provocation was evident from the start. Wat zien ik/Business is Business (1971), his first film hit, featured droll scenes from the Amsterdam red light district. It was followed by Turks fruit/Turkish Delight (1973), an unconventional love story, and Keetje Tippel/Cathy Tippel (1975), a play on sexual exploitation and social mobility in a nineteenth-century setting. These films already show Verhoeven's taste for the gross effects, scatological details, exaggerated contrasts and schematic characters that feature in his later work." - Karel Dibbets (Encyclopedia of European Cinema, 1995)
"Well into his forties before moving to America to work, Dutch-born director Paul Verhoeven has thrived in the world of big budgets, exercising his lurid imagination and tremendous appetite for sex and violence to become a master of modern sensation… Verhoeven spent his childhood in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, and the wartime visions of fire in the sky and death became imprinted on the future filmmaker's consciousness." - The Hollywood.com Guide to Film Directors, 2004
"Verhoeven was well into his forties before he came to work in America. But he has redefined himself, and in the space of a few years he has placed himself in the company of James Cameron and Tim Burton (nearly twenty years younger) as masters of modern sensation. Indeed, a case can be made that no immigrant has as fully embraced the New World since the days of Lang and Hitchcock. He took a degree in math and physics at the University of Leiden and began to make short films for the Dutch Navy, and then for television. Turkish Delight got an Oscar nomination for best foreign film: it has Verhoeven’s chief actor in Holland, Rutger Hauer, as a sculptor in a variety of erotic situations." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"Period dramas, science-fiction and modern-dress pieces about disreputable characters make up the movie output of this Dutch director, whose three contributions to the sci-fi genre are probably his best films. Don't look for depth in a Verhoeven film, which often has a strong sexual element - but he is a master of big canvasses and some of his huge action scenes would make impressive paintings." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Robocop (1987)
Worth a Look
Turkish Delight (1973), Soldier of Orange (1977), Total Recall (1990), Black Book (2006) , Elle (2016)
Approach with Caution
Spetters (1980), The 4th Man (1983), Showgirls (1995), Starship Troopers (1997)
Not Recommended
Flesh + Blood (1985), Basic Instinct (1992) ✖︎, Hollow Man (2000)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Paul Verhoeven / Favourite Films
Belle de jour (1967) Luis Buñuel, La Dolce vita (1960) Federico Fellini, The Gold Rush (1925) Charles Chaplin, Ivan the Terrible, Parts 1 & 2 (1944/1946) Sergei Eisenstein, The Seventh Seal (1957) Ingmar Bergman, Vertigo (1958) Alfred Hitchcock.
Source: Kino Script (2016)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    The 4th Man
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