When the dead punks parents demand an inquiry, Ernst procrastinates over whether to support them with his testimony or continue his slide into non-engagement. There are about three separate movies going on here, and director Gerrit van Elst cant seem to make up his mind which to pursue in detail. A byproduct of the swinging 60s (seen in flashbacks), Ernst still retains a vestigial calling to defend societys rebels; his liking for the bottle leaves him in a perpetual state of dislocation from reality; and his sex life is reduced to hiring an out-of-towner (Daniella Remmers) to climax in front of him. Dutch actor Bokma, better known at home for Shakespeare than the screen, does his best to unite the various strands in a performance thats half boyish charm, half black comedy. In the humorless role of the wife, Dames is largely left stranded, a victim of the movies lack of dramatic pulse, not helped any by the paucity of music throughout. Tech credits otherwise are pro. Shooting was disrupted by modern-day punks, who forced producer Matthijs van Heijningen to put an elaborate disclaimer at the end, stating the pic is not based on the real-life case of Hans Kok. The attendant publicity didnt prevent the movie from flopping on local release.

When the dead punks parents demand an inquiry, Ernst procrastinates over whether to support them with his testimony or continue his slide into non-engagement. There are about three separate movies going on here, and director Gerrit van Elst cant seem to make up his mind which to pursue in detail. A byproduct of the swinging 60s (seen in flashbacks), Ernst still retains a vestigial calling to defend societys rebels; his liking for the bottle leaves him in a perpetual state of dislocation from reality; and his sex life is reduced to hiring an out-of-towner (Daniella Remmers) to climax in front of him. Dutch actor Bokma, better known at home for Shakespeare than the screen, does his best to unite the various strands in a performance thats half boyish charm, half black comedy. In the humorless role of the wife, Dames is largely left stranded, a victim of the movies lack of dramatic pulse, not helped any by the paucity of music throughout. Tech credits otherwise are pro. Shooting was disrupted by modern-day punks, who forced producer Matthijs van Heijningen to put an elaborate disclaimer at the end, stating the pic is not based on the real-life case of Hans Kok. The attendant publicity didnt prevent the movie from flopping on local release.

Punk Lawyer

(DUTCH)

Production

A Concorde Film release (in the Netherlands) of a Sigma Pictures production, in association with Vara. Produced by Matthijs van Heijningen. Directed by Gerrit van Elst. Screenplay, Kitty Verrips, Van Elst, from the novel of the same name in A.F. Th. van der Heijdens cycle De tandeloze tijd.

Crew

Camera (color), Lex Wertwijn; editor, Mario Steenbergen; music, Paul M. van Brugge; production design, Vincent de Pater; art direction, Wilma Schuemie; sound, Viktor Dekker, Paul Gries; assistant director, Jaier (ED: SIC) Weissman. Reviewed at Dutch Film Festival (Holland Film Meeting) (competing), Utrecht, Sept. 30, 1996. Running time: 107 MIN. Ernst Quispel Pierre Bokma Swanny Margo Dames Frank Jaap Spijkers Quispel Sr. Peter Oosthoek Francine Daniella Remmers A watchable central perf by legit actor Pierre Bokma is the best thing about Punk Lawyer, a potentially interesting study of an alcoholic advocates crisis of conscience. Unfocused scripting and static direction are the main culprits preventing this Dutch pics wider parole. Its the mid-80s, and slick lawyer Ernst Quispel (Bokma) has everything going for him except a barely contained drinking habit. During one bender, hes arrested along with some skinheads whove been violently evicted by the police from a squat, and is the sole witness to a cover-up by the cops when one of them mysteriously dies in custody. At home, Ernsts marriage to his ambitious wife, Swanny (Margo Dames), has hit the sexual reefs, and his establishment father (Peter Oosthoek) is pressuring him to join the family law firm.
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