A shaman-like fugitive takes refuge and insidiously takes over a middle-class family home in this disquieting, surreal Dutch black comedy.
A sly twist on the home invasion thriller – imagine Michael Haneke’s
Funny Games with genuine, if blackly comic humour – this shape- shifting Dutch feature sets its shaggy haired, underground dwelling bogeyman loose in a sleek, middle-class family residence. Yet Borgman’s initial infiltration is more suggestive and seductive than overtly hostile and, aided by his cult-like cabal, he slowly turns the couple, their three children and live-in nanny against each other, with increasingly macabre consequences. Shot through with a surreal streak worthy of
Luis Buñuel, veteran director Van Warmerdam keeps a tight rein on the deadpan drollery and slow-burn dramatic tension. While any allegorical meaning remains agreeably loose, is the shamanic Borgman railing against complacent bourgeois entitlement or provoking a more primeval, random chaos?