Even though a royal woman only makes a short appearance in this film, I wanted to write a review on this film. It’s quite possibly one of the biggest Dutch releases of this year and is about an especially restless period in Dutch history.
Its main character Michiel de Ruyter is a scruffy, unkempt man who becomes Admiral of the Dutch fleet to fight the English. His wife Anna plays her part well, practically telling him to just go already.
Charles II is played by an awesome Charles Dance. (We never see his wife Catherine of Braganza, just a French-speaking mistress who could be Louise de Kérouaille but she isn’t credited as such). Also, thumbs up for the fact that all concerning parties speak their own language.
Behind the epic sea battles against the English, we see William III, Prince of Orange (later King of England) as some sort of joke as an over the top gay man. There were allegations of homosexuality but his portrayal just made the audience snort. Not a good look. Later in the film, he marries the future Mary II of England, daughter of James II of England.
Even though the sea battles were very impressive, I was quite done with the slow motion shots of things blowing up nothing after a while. Michiel de Ruyter even killed several people with a sword that had no blood on it. Impressive.
The most impressive scene for me was the lynching of the De Witt brother. Cornelius and Johan de Witt were politicians. They were lynched by supporters of the House of Orange. The scene is very gruesome. Cornelius had already been tortured in jail. In the film, the brothers hold hands until their hands are cut off, though this is not how it happened in real life. I’m not surprised this movie made a version suitable for 12 and over and 16 and over, I imagine this scene is cut from the first version.
The bodies of the brothers De Witt, by Jan de Baen
Overall it’s an impressive film, but it could have done without the many slow-motion scenes and the mocking of William III.