THE REEL BINGE with Lee Ostler: THE TREATMENT (2014)

Director: Hans Herbots

I always have to push through the first few minutes of any foreign language flicks that are subtitled. It’s just being lazy and I almost always forget about the subtitles in no time. So, I get why some people tend to avoid such movies. I really think you’re making a mistake if you dismiss “The Treatment”(2014) because you don’t want to read. The film is a Belgian adaptation of a De_Behandeling_The_Treatment_poster_ingles024874210035985120020215151novel of the same name by British crime-writer, Mo Hayder. Slightly unique, given the wave of English language adaptations of non-English, European crime-thrillers. “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (2011) and the Wallander series being the most obvious examples.

I’ll tell you right off the bat that this is a terrifying film. Not in the traditional horror sense of the word (though Trolls are a plot-point), it’s more of a what-lies-in-the-evil-hearts-of-men deal. Inspector Nick Cafmeyer (Geert Van Rampelberg) is the protagonist here. He is investigating a brutal home invasion and child abduction, which is similar to his own brother’s abduction 25 years earlier. Van Rampelberg plays the part of the tormented, obsessed cop who hasn’t slept or shaved in a week, to perfection. It’s a well worn trope at this point, but always interesting when done well. Cafmeyer is dragged into the underground scene of pedophiles and sadists, which leaves him increasingly erratic and working outside of proper procedure to solve the crimes. There are a few narratives at play here, but they all come together quite interestingly. Instead of one big twist or surprise, we are kind of hit with the treatone jolt after another, though the tension is effectively ratcheted up throughout. Any film that deals with pedophilia and torture can be pretty tough. I’ll admit that it left me slightly stunned. Any movie that can hit you that hard must be worth watching, but maybe just the once. I’ll leave it to you to find out what “the treatment” is. – LEE

The Treatment International Trailer


Associated Recommendations:

Given that I’m completely unfamiliar with anyone who made this film, I’ll just throw out some European noir-thrillers. “The Crimson Rivers” (2000) is a great French crime-thriller starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel. The Wallander series (2008-2015) of British made-for-TV films are all worth watching. They star Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander, a perpetually haggard, Swedish detective. The Swedish series of TV films based on the same character are apparently very good, but I haven’t seen them. And, of course, the Swedish, Millenium Series (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2009), “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2009) and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” (2009) ) are all must watch flicks.