Review: ‘Vox Populi’

A decent lefty politico undergoing a midlife crisis rises in the polls when he starts echoing the folksy, right-wing sentiments of his prospective in-laws in political satire "Vox Populi."

A decent lefty politico undergoing a midlife crisis rises in the polls when he starts echoing the folksy, right-wing sentiments of his prospective in-laws in political satire “Vox Populi.” Latest effort by Dutch helmer Eddy Terstall (“Simon”) sheds the low-budget feel that plagued many of his previous efforts, but its largely toothless screenplay is bogged down by random jabs at gays and Muslims rather than the flip-flopping politicians and ignorant voters who should be its targets. Parallels with real-life Dutch politics are too local to make this more than a curio item abroad.

Middle-class, middle-aged Jos (Tom Jansen) is serious about his job, but also likes the ego boost of being a success with the plebes. When his daughter (Tara Elders) falls in love with an ex-GI (Johnny de Mol), Jos meets the gee-whiz kid’s working-class father (Ton Kas) and the latter’s Serbian son-in-law (Bata Milojevic), who try to enlighten him on what the country really needs. Elders and de Mol, stuck in a plot-device relationship, never convince. Jansen fares better, while Kas, as the foul-mouthed Everyman, generates the most chuckles, though he offers more platitudes than insight.

Vox Populi

Netherlands

Production

An A-Film release of a Spaghetti Film presentation and production, in association with VPRO. (International sales: Spaghetti Film, Amsterdam.) Produced by Imko Nieuwenhuijs. Directed, written by Eddy Terstall.

Crew

Camera (color), Gabor Deak; editor, Michiel Reichwein; music, Spinvis; production designers, Aviva de Groot, Barbara Westra; costume designers, Gaby Hanrath, Odette Roosterman. Reviewed at Netherlands Film Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands, Sept. 27, 2008. Dutch, Serbian dialogue. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Tom Jansen, Johnny de Mol, Esmarel Gasman, Tara Elders, Ton Kas, Femke Lakerveld, Bata Milojevic, Marion van Thijn, Beppie Melissen, Hilde van Mieghem.
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