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Everything Must Go

Lotsa rage with nowhere to go fuels "Everything Must Go," a typically off-center Flemish black comedy let down by a saggy midsection. Dubbed locally as "a Belgian 'Trainspotting,' " it's nothing of the sort, but should notch up festival dates, small-screen sales and limited theatrical play in Europe. The homoerotic currents in this third feature by Jan Verheyen could give it extra mileage at gay events. Tone of scarcely buttoned-down frustration is graphically signaled in the opening sequence featuring Tony (Stany Crets), the 24-year-old son of upper middle-class parents. (Dad is a well-known prosecutor, Mom is a lawyer.) After flunking his legal exams, Tony steals some family money and sets off in an old van across Belgium to "sell things and discover the world."

With:
Tony ..... Stany Crets Andreeke ..... Peter van den Begin Soo ..... Bart De Pauw

On the way, he falls in with Andreeke (Peter van den Begin), an ex-con who’s also on a road to nowhere and steals for the sake of it. Just for fun, the pair break into Tony’s home while his parents are overseas, but eventually separate when Andreeke decides to go back to running a small bistro.

Still with a major burr under his saddle, Tony poses as an insurance salesman to con a dying old woman, but ends up conned by her. Re-meeting Andreeke, who’s now majorly angry over his eatery going bust, Tony is dragged off to rob a bank, which turns into a High Noon for one of them.

Based on a local bestseller by Tom Lanoye, the movie is essentially about two losers who rail against the bland conservatism of Belgian life but end up hardly puncturing its self-satisfied exterior. Audiences will either tune into the rampant nihilism or reckon it’s small potatoes, but the pic does have some agreeably funny moments in its dialogue and performances, especially by the restrained Crets as Tony, far more of a walking time bomb than his outwardly anarchistic pal.

But the film’s midsection, as the lads carouse hither and thither, does flag, abandoning the impressive opening with its stylish visual design for a less controlled look and content that’s hardly new in ’90s Gen-X cinema. After the hour mark, the movie recovers its offbeat, slightly weird tone, to greater dividends.

Tech credits are OK, though the color in print caught had the sometimes weak look of a blowup from 16mm. Helmer Verheyen, who scored a big local success with his first feature, the teen saga “Boys” (1991), is currently a senior exec with Polygram Filmed Entertainment.

Everything Must Go

Belgian

Production: A Favourite Films/Phantom Films production. (International sales: Seawell Films, Paris.) Produced by Dirk Impens, Rudy Verzyck, Daniel van Avermaet. Directed by Jan Verheyen. Screenplay, Christophe Dirickx, Verheyen, Tom Lanoye, Stany Crets, Peter van den Begin, based on the novel by Lanoye.

Crew: Camera (Fujicolor), Glynn Speeckaert; editor, Ewin Ryckaert; music, Noordkaap; production design, Hubert Pouille; costume design, Ilse Vandenbussche; sound, Dan van Bever, The Mixy Sisters. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 16, 1997. Running time: 106 MIN. (Flemish dialogue)

With: Tony ..... Stany Crets Andreeke ..... Peter van den Begin Soo ..... Bart De Pauw

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