July 20, 2015 The Treatment (Movie Review)
Across the ocean lays a vast array of deep, thought-provoking films that occasionally get lost amongst blockbuster releases. Latest release by Eyeworks Films and Artsploitation Films on July 7th on DVD/Blu-ray, The Treatment, also known as De Handeling, is one such film. Filmed in Belgium, The Treatment is a fast-paced story with heavy subject matter, the insidious child sex offender disease; but stops short of being too dark for viewers to enjoy. The Treatment was Writer Mo Hayder’s debut novel which was expertly adapted by screenwriter Carl Joos (The Spiral 2012, Cordon 2014) for the big screen. Director Hans Herbots (Het goddelijke monster 2011, The Spiral 2012), skilfully capture Hayder’s and Joos’ vision, complemented by the Cinematography by a talented group of people including Olivier Servais (La douce empoisonneuse 2014, Robin des Bois, la veritable historie 2015), and Amandine Mahieu (Palace Beach Hotel 2014).
In a busy town, Detective Nick Cafmeyer (Geert Van Rampelberg: Cordon TV series, Image 2014), battles his inner demons and his past each day as he investigates some of the most horrific and brutal cases involving children. Despite being good looking, smart, with a successful career, his own brother’s Bjorn’s disappearance as a child invades Nick’s every thought and motive. While he is single-minded and driven in his desire to rid the world of the increasing pedophile rings, they seem to continue to pop up despite Police task forces. At times it is almost fighting a losing battle. Already bogged down by cases to solve the abduction and traumatic brutal killing of another child forces Nick to deal with his past without allowing the darkness to seep in too deep. The continued appearance of the lead suspect in a number of cases including Bjorn’s, Ivan Plettinckx (Johan van Assche: Cordon TV series, The Spiral TV series) taunts Nick in a number of ways, and Nick becomes obsessed with taking Plettinckx down no matter what the means. The appearance of an insider in the form of an old woman (Laura Verlinden: Image 2014, Loft 2008), who seems to know all the players in the child sex ring, gives Nick the evidence he needs to nail the suspect, but at what cost to him?
Nick’s only sanity comes in the form of his partner, Danni (Ina Geerts: Loft 2008, Malakim 2014), who keeps him level-headed and provides some light in the otherwise troublesome world they live and work in. Scene by scene, each of the characters are propelled toward the climactic end, but will Nick and Danni get the killer before another child is taken? The Treatment is a character-driven story, which helps the viewer sympathise with Nick and the victims, and makes it easier to digest the more loathsome subject matter. A high quality crime drama that is confronting, nauseating, but also delves deep into the sick and twisted minds of pedophiles.
If it were not for the lighter aspects, the viewer may feel bogged down in despair, but not unlike films such as Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005) franchise by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, are both formidable yet a necessary evil. It is a taboo topic that most shove far back on the highest shelf and lock away, but it is important to remember that it is in fact one of the widest spread depraved scourge on humanity. Excellent realistic dialogue pushes the story forward, set in modern times, which is referenced by today’s technology and clothing. The Treatment is hauntingly beautiful, which is an unusual contrast in the intensity of the story. A smart, taut film, with enough edge to slice through all those before it, CrypticRock.com gives The Treatment 5 out of 5 stars.