The Discovery Of Heaven * Jeroen Krabbé * 2001

De Ontdekking van de Hemel (1992) by Harry Mulisch (1927-) is seen as one of the highlights of modern Dutch literature. I never read novels and I certainly wasn’t planning on reading this 900+ pages book by Mulisch. Even when the Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé (1944-) decided to make a film of the book, I had no intention to see it. But since I don’t go through life alone, I got to see the two hour film anyway.
The film begins by showing how two men meet and become best friends. Even when they run into a girl they alternally (and simultaneously) have a relationship with, things keep going well between the two. Then the three have a car accident, Ada (the girl) falls into coma while pregnant (but who is the father?), gives birth and remains in a coma while her son (Quinten) is raised by her mother and Max and not by Onno (who is thought to be the father). All right and well, not? But as the boy grows up, he has dreams of his mother and of a strange building and the story turns towards a vague semi-religious Dan Brown-like plot and the ‘other people’ having conversations prove to be (arch)angels running life on earth and having nefarious plans with mankind. I kind of lost it there. The first part of the film is an alright drama, but the second half is a bit far-fetched. With the whole Da Vinci hype, I can see why this book is so popular. For those who can’t get thought Mulisch’s writing-style or just want to see a film, this Dutch, but very well English spoken, film isn’t too bad of a choice.

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