DVD Borgman

DVD Borgman
DVD Borgman

Run time: 113 min
Rating: 6.9
Genres: Drama | Thriller
Director: Alex van Warmerdam
Writers: Alex van Warmerdam
Stars: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval
A vagrant enters the lives of an arrogant upper-class family, turning their lives into a psychological nightmare in the process.
Plot Keywords: nightmare, vagrant, bare chested male, one word title, watching tv
Country: Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark
Release Date: 29 August 2013 (Netherlands)
Box Office
Opening Weekend: $11,224 (USA) (20 June 2014)
Gross: $51,722 (USA) (11 July 2014)


  1. 'Borgman' tells the story of a drifter (Jan Bijvoet) that slowly but suddenly takes control of the lives of a young, wealthy family living in a beautiful mansion somewhere in the Netherlands. The movie begins with a scene in a forest, where Borgman, i.e. the drifter, and some of his associates are chased from their underground hiding places by a group of holy workers (lead by the-always-inspiring Pierre Bokma). Soon after their escape, Borgman alone seemingly randomly knocks on the doors of the houses of very wealthy people, asking if he can use bathing facilities in their house. In attempt to do good after a brutal beating by her husband (Jeroen Perceval), Marina (Hadewijch Minis) helps Borgman by giving him temporary shelter in the garden shed. That was all that the intimidating but darkly intriguing character of Borgman needed to unfold his diabolical plans…

    Although Borgman is a layered surrealistic film, and probably therefore sometimes slow and hard to understand, its message is clear and the story is continuously compelling. Especially intriguing are the biblical aspects, which are always subtly present in the background, and which give the film a dark, tense character. Not being a religious person, the movie does trigger an interest in the spiritual, or better, meta-ethics, which won't leave you alone for several days afyer having watched it. The excellent performances of Jan Bijvoet and Hadewijch Minis are crucial in delivering the very strong script.

    I highly recommend this film to anyone who seeks a tense thriller. Because, aside from the absurdist aspects, from start to the end the movie is very exciting.


  2. Borgman is not a vagabond or a homeless, but the evil, the Antichrist itself. He emerges from under the ground with his followers when the local priest and some helpers try to destroy them. They manage to escape and set out on a journey to capture new souls. Borgman is not interested in money or wealth, not interested in seducing women or hurting children. He could get it all if only he wanted to. His only interest is to bring out the evil residing in all humans – men, women, children. He manipulates, sedates or kills people when it is necessary, but it is not a goal, just a tool for him. When he finds a potential follower, he marks him or her with a stigma on their backs. He does a perfect job with an upper-class family turning the family members, the babysitter and her boyfriend against each other, uncovering their worst thoughts and desires. Borgman ends up by capturing new followers, and abandons the beautiful house by cleaning up any traces of his terrible deeds. The movie is surrealistic, full of symbols related to the Bible, and lightened up with lots of spooky humor. It does have a clear plot and a full ending, and undoubtedly makes one wonder about his/her own inner dark side.

  3. Technically, Borgman is very well made. It's very well shot, the acting is great and the film for a long time really induced discomfort. It had me going "Where is this going? What is going on? Why is this happening? What does this mean?". But at a certain point the film just fizzles out.

    It builds and builds but instead of there being a climax there's just…nothing really. Just a strange, depressing ending. I didn't like how it ended as the film promises so much yet doesn't deliver. Not in my opinion anyway.

    A film needs to have a proper ending which has an impact because of what went before. Where things add up to something. It's like a song where after the last note you go "Wow, that was a good song.". The ending of Borgman just left me depressed and thinking there wasn't any real point to the film.

    There's so much so well executed in this film. Alex van Warmerdam really knows how to direct, how to create a mood, how to shoot something and yet there's something lacking here as I haven't got the slightest clue as to what to make of it all. And that's a shame as, as I said there's a lot in this picture that's good.

    It's like the script was 75% done when they started shooting. It's like it tells you it's got something interesting to say and subsequently keeps its mouth shut.


  4. One of the best films of the Philadelphia Film Festival, Borgman is a hilarious, darkly satirical, mysterious, sexy, fascinating, and surreal allegory for social upheaval.

    In the beginning, there was armed men looking to kill underground hobos. We will never find out why they want to kill them or why the hobos are underground (or why the hobos have nice cellphones). One of them, Camiel Borgman, escapes and warns his friends. He washes himself at a gas station and begins wandering down an extremely affluent street with the intention of getting a proper bath in one of them, simply by asking at the front door. One house in particular strikes his fancy, and he begins a slow process of worming his way into the household and the lives of everyone who lives there.

    But that's when things get REALLY strange.

    This film is destined for hopefully a good deal of international attention in the art-house circuit due to its exceptional storytelling, unpredictability and very weird plot.

    With the matter-of-fact way it presents absurd goings-on, it reminded me of Dogtooth a little.

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