Tribeca Breakdown: "Tricked"

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Follow Paul Verhoeven as he navigates the challenges of developing a crowd-sourced script, then puts the results onscreen. This 53-minute film from the Dutch director focuses on a real estate tycoon and philanderer by the name of Remco (Peter Blok), whose life is turned upside down when his business partners start scheming behind his back and one of his mistresses shows up pregnant to his birthday party.
2.5

Plot: Director Paul Verhoeven’s next film project is starting with only a four page script. Where will the rest come from? He is going to have his audience write up how they see the story playing out and then he and his team will put the whole thing together.

 

Review:  

Paul Verhoeven has always been provocative, from the violence he’s portrayed in movies like “Robocop”, “Total Recall”, and “Starship Troopers” to the over-the-top sexuality of movies like “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls.” He’s been oddly absent from American cinemas since directing 2000’s “Hollow Man”, he says because the stuff he got offered by American studios never really peaked his interest.

 

“Tricked” is sort of a stand-alone thing, made outside of any studio, but seemingly more high-concept as an experiment than as an actual movie. But in actuality, it’s pretty much innocuous as both an experiment and a film. The first half of this is the documentary part, revealing the process of that went into creating the film. Some of it is so insane as to be entertaining, like Verhoeven and his team going through 700 scripts and taking out snippets of plot, dialogue, ect. from the best ones. But he also continually keeps reminding us that this is a dive into the unknown that no one, not the actors, crew, or even him, know what is happening next. We get it, it’s a stunt, plain and simple. And oddly not much controversy ever arises from any members of the actors or crew, which seems both unbelievable and not very dramatically effective.

 

The second part is the 50-minute film itself, called “Steekspel”, about a man who gets an unexpected visitor during his 50th birthday party as well as a bunch of other subplots about his son being attracted to his sister’s very sexy friend and the man losing control of his business. It’s a sex and lies type story that doesn’t have enough laughs to be a comedy but is handled so laxly that you couldn’t really call it an effective drama either. It does have a few laughs and one or two twists but much like the earlier documentary portion of this film, fades from memory all too quickly.