©All Yours Film VoF
distribution C-Films
photo's courtesy The Publicity Company

As a man hangs from the ceiling, being tortured to the tunes of Karaoke, we feel the energy released in an unfamiliar criminal world of retribution. "Leak" is a Dutch police film aimed at a wide audience. In attempting to target their viewers through a commercial film with an interesting story and believable characters, the producers have succeeded in making a thriller that exemplifies life on both sides of the police fence. Based on the true experiences of a Dutch officer confronted with corruption inside his force, the film is an adaptation of the original novel by Jan van Daalen.

Eddy's a cop bumpin' around the beat. He's going no place fast and even his sperm seems a bit on the slow side. Both at work and in bed, all reports have shown no results to date. Wanting to climb the blue ladder of Amsterdam's finest, he agrees to work a job for CID (Criminal Investigation Department) and approaches his old school friend Jack with an offer that he can't refuse. His buddy, it would seem, has spent his post-school years not only becoming a middleman in the drugs business, but a happy father as well. Jack turns informer with the understanding that Eddy will remain his only personal contact person on the side of the law. He figures he can trust his old buddy. Agreeing to this setup, the police hope to catch the notorious drug baron Haveman. Jack, who hopes to make a big score in his attempt to begin a new life, views this curious partnership as the revival of lost friendship: "We'll be a team, just like in the old days." When, however, the transports repeatedly manage to escape the long arm of the law, it becomes clear that there is not only a leak among the gangster's, but a leak in the police station as well. Eddy, trained to be aware of the suspicious behavior of others, now falls victim to paranoia as he unexpectedly finds himself coming under suspicion. With no one left to trust among his buddies in blue, Eddy joins forces in yet another fashion with Jack to find out where the leak is.

Their privates live also become inescapably affected by the circumstances surrounding them. Jack's a simple kind of guy who enjoys carrying his tot (baby Jakey) around with an easy philosophy: "There are three things that every guy wants to have: a woman, sex, and a Lamborghini Diablo." His red speedster, however, won't be able to help him escape danger. Eddy makes do without such flash wheels at home and spends his time in bed frolicking around while wearing his wife's red cowboy hat. Not having any success in the kid department, he and his wife console themselves with their pet penguins & turtle. Their troublesome situation will lead them closer to disaster than either suspect. When you jump in that deep, you better know where you're going.

The most disturbing element in the story is the lack of cleverness displayed by our cop/hero when doing things like opening a train station locker to find a bag full of money with a greeting card that reads ""oogjes dicht, snaveltjes toe" ("close your eyes and keep your mouth shut"). On this occasion, he nervously proceeds to leave his fingerprints all over the place before returning the evidence to the locker. This young cop is obviously dumb and unhandy. (One might well wonder what Jack has gotten himself into by agreeing to depend on Eddy for his safety.) After reporting this incident to the CID, he is placed on non-active for two weeks. The boy winds up getting himself into further trouble all the time. Look before you leap seems to be an adage of which he's never heard. Although he becomes more macho in his battle against the baddies by the end of the film, he still doesn't impress anyone with exceptional brightness when he begins shooting off his pistol as if it's a game of cops and robbers. One thinks of the comment one of the criminals made earlier when referring to Eddy, "Ask what we should do about Serpico."

Cas Jansen, familiar to audiences as Julian in the Dutch soap "Good Times, Bad Times," finally has a chance to show his abilities as an actor, albeit the character in the script has some definite shortcomings. As he says, Jansen found it exciting to deal with the mortal flaws plaguing his character "from the rather inexperienced Eddy in the beginning to the vengeful man who suddenly gets an idea into his head, loses control, and wants to take revenge on everyone. This line of development is a central to the story because the film is experienced mostly from Eddy's point of view. You have to let yourself go with it. That was the most difficult thing for me, to make sure that I succeeded in that."

Victor Löw (familiar to Dutch audiences from previous roles in "Abeltje", "Missing Link", and "Rent-a-Friend") turns the character of Jack into the sleazy, wealthy type of criminal often seen frequenting the streets and hidden corners of the red light district in Amsterdam; a guy with a good heart who makes your skin crawl. He wants to get out of this underworld, but hasn't found the opportunity. Löw comments, "What I found so intriguing about the underworld is the emotional ties bound up with this situation. Every wrong decision could mean the end. It's always hit and run. Jack has to make so many decisions at the same time that he finally winds up in an emotional mess. I recognize that split personality very well. It's a combination of great spontaneity with immense repression. That's why, in the middle of a sudden spontaneous reaction, I can find myself suddenly asking who I am and why I'm doing something."

©All Yours Film VoF
distribution C-Films
photo's courtesy The Publicity Company

Ricki Koole (previously seen in the Dutch films "All Stars" and "The Dress") plays the young innocent wife desperately trying to have a child and winding up in a situation she never could have imagined as the result of being married to a policeman.

Director Jean van der Velde, who appeared several years ago on the Dutch scene with his film "De Kleine Blonde Dood" ("Little Blonde Death"), shows that he has a handle over the elements necessary to get an audience involved. His hand in co-writing the scenario with Simon de Waal has obviously assisted him in keeping an eye on how each scene would work while planning the final shoot. His intention was to show that cops are people made of flesh and blood like everyone else by showing them not only at work, but, more importantly, in their private lives. With corruption spreading further through the ranks in Amsterdam the past ten years into the realm of lawyers and politicians, the arena of the Dutch underworld became more interesting to him as a subject for a film. As van der Velde says, "You don't have to make things up and people are less likely to say that something like this couldn't happen in Holland."

As he tells it, "The great thing is that these two worlds run so parallel to each other. If there's one place where an office atmosphere can be found with a typical 'office' sense of humor, it's among the police in the police station. Their entire body of work as professionals has to be recorded in dossiers, statements, and reports. The real adventure doesn't take place there. It takes place in the unrestricted brain of the criminals. They are the adventurers who can get rich from one moment to the next. I didn't feel I had to put the emphasis, like many other scripts have in the past, on the concept that criminals are no good. The challenge was to make it possible for the viewer to like them. In different ways, it's an exciting and attractive world they live in; otherwise nobody would ever become part of it. You come across normal people just as easily in the underworld as anywhere else, like Jack, a man who has recently become a father and is absolutely crazy about his kid."

Perhaps it is easiest to summarize the plot of the film is by using an often repeated phrase of Mr. Klaus Wilting, the public relations officer for the police of Amsterdam: "It appears to have something to do with settling accounts within the criminal milieu."

Footnote: Although it arguably has little to do with the movie, one cannot help but make some reference to the locations. Many can be found in the Indonesian neighborhood of Amsterdam (aka East), although they have been embellished in different ways to fit the bill. When the police walk into a snack bar (called the "Vlampan" (Frying Pan), they find a crowd of local residents waiting to order take-aways. Disgruntled by the thought of waiting in line too long, one officer calls out, "Foreign police, papers please." The place rapidly empties and the cops get their sandwiches for free. (Humor?) This snack bar has, incidentally, been closed by the police since the shooting of the film took place. Nearby, behind the cozy "Badhuis" café, whores are roaming the street looking for another clientele. (Don't try going there. You won't find any. By the way, this café has gone bankrupt and closed since the making of the film.) A pregnancy test can always be a good idea when you're doing your best to have a kid, but doing it on the Molukkenstraat in front of the apothecary on a parked car seems a bit flamboyant, even for a policeman. (This location is situated across the street from the nearest police station.) This last location also offers a good shot-filling background of the monumental Berlage buildings (which may possibly be scheduled for demolition by the city council in the coming year or so.) Keep an eye out for these locations; they may not be around for long.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett