Borgman (Movie Review)

John Shelton's rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Director: Alex van Warmerdam | Release Date: 2013

Imagine showing a vampire movie to someone who has no pre-existing knowledge of vampires. They would probably be baffled trying to piece together all the rules that usually need no explanation. Sunlight burns them? They have to drink the blood of the living to survive? They can be hurt by a specific geometric shape? The concept of “vampire” is so familiar to anyone who has seen a movie, cartoon or Halloween costume in the last 50 years, that we don’t need an extended scene of Dr. Van Expositioning laying out the rules. Our hypothetical vampire newbie needs that scene, though, and withholding it leaves them scrambling to make sense of the weird creature in the movie. That’s what watching the Dutch import Borgman feels like.

The film opens with a heavily armed priest and villagers chasing away a group of apparently homeless men who live in holes in the ground. After escaping, Borgman, one of the men, knocks on the door of an upper-class family, asking if he can use their shower. The wife is sympathetic, but things quickly escalate, ending with the hot-tempered husband brutally beating the man. Later, the wife finds Borgman still lurking about their property and seems oddly enthralled, asking him to come back and stay with them. He agrees and creates a job opening for himself by murdering the gardener and his wife. A shave and a haircut later and he’s unrecognizable enough for the husband to hire him as the family’s new gardener.

It slowly becomes apparent that there’s more to Borgman and his friends than it first appears. They seem to hold the wife, the nanny and the children in their thrall. They all have an identical scar on their backs. Sometimes Borgman is accompanied by inexplicable greyhounds. And there’s the fact that he occasionally crouches naked on the chest of the wife as she sleeps, apparently giving her nightmares that make her irrationally angry at her husband.

The thing that will launch Borgman into instant cult status for some and instant hatred and dismissal for others is that nothing is ever really explained. The movie leaves ambiguous almost everything about Borgman, his enigmatic nature and the strange things he does. A little digging into traditional Dutch folktales might shine a scant bit of light on some possible interpretations, but even then, so much is withheld that it’s not even clear if Borgman is a force of pure evil, chaotic neutral, Old-Testament-style good, or something else entirely.

At its core, Borgman is a mix between a fable and a home invasion film, albeit one in which the invader is welcomed into the home and ingratiated into the family. Жестокий и страстный секс от первого лица, смотреть онлайн в ШД на . Эрекция обеспечена! Красивое порно на русском тубе. Much like its title character seemingly effortlessly inserting himself into a family and then steering them to his own, unknowable ends, the film Borgman has a way of inviting itself into your subconscious, leaving you to puzzle out the whats and the whys and the hows.

John Shelton

Writer/Podcast Host/Professor

Born and raised in the back of a video store, Shelton went beyond the hills and crossed the seven seas as BGH's foreign correspondent before settling into a tenure hosting Sophisticult Cinema. He enjoys the finer things in life, including but not limited to breakfast tacos, vintage paperbacks and retired racing greyhounds.

Get Your BGH Fix