PRINT Summer 2000


One day in college I went to the local art house to see Paul Verhoeven’s The Fourth Man (1983). The director was unknown to me, but the promise of gaudy violence and AC/DC sex scenes no doubt lured me in. Verhoeven, as I later learned, was at that time probably the Netherlands’ most renowned filmmaker, having directed such critically acclaimed features as Turkish Delight (1973), which received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, Soldier of Orange (1977), and Spetters (1980). I had no idea that The Fourth Man, a less than completely successful film, would prove the “bridge” between Verhoeven’s European art-house past and the string of controversial Hollywood blockbusters that lay in his future, beginning with RoboCop in 1987. There’s something weirdly disjunctive about the elegant if gory killings in Verhoeven’s last Dutch film and the out-of-control body counts amassed in

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