Thursday, 8 March 2018


[Favourite of the Month] A young boy discovers a secret agent cryogenized forty years ago. Directed by Pieter van Rijn, Master Spy (MeesterSpion) is a wonderfully pleasant Dutch adventure/comedy movie for the family.

Released in the Netherlands during autumn 2016, the film has become a favourite of children's film festivals. Master Spy can be watched since last month in France on the channels of Canal +.

The bottom line: 007 meets John Hughes.

1973. Simon Floret, a dashing agent of the NGD (Nederlandse Geheime Dienst, a fictional Dutch secret service), is on assignment in a coastal hotel where a "Diner diplomatique" is given. Assisted by tech whiz Lexie, his mission is to take photos of a traitor who sells information to the Soviets. Much to his surprise, the man he's looking for is a colleague named Freek Dekker. Simon escapes with his photographic proofs but Freek shoots him a poisoned dart before he can tell Lexie where he hid them. Her only solution is to cryogenize Floret until she finds an antidote.

40 years later, Tim de Wolf, aged 10, and his little sister, move to the old seaside hotel bought by their parents and Tim must do his best to adjust to his new home. Chased by three classmates, he unexpectedly finds a secret basement where Simon Floret lies in a cryogenic chamber. As the box opens, the young boy breaks by accident the antidote left by Lexie. Back in a world which has changed a lot, the master spy needs help from Tim to contact the NGD and get another dose of antidote. But there's a problem: the boss of the secret service is none other than Freek Dekker, the traitor.

Master Spy (MeesterSpion) was written by Tijs van Marle, a scriptwriter behind two successful children movie franchises: Mister Twister (Mees Kees), launched in 2012 and based on the books by Mirjam Oldenhave. And the film adaptations of Tosca Menten's Dummy the Mummy books (Dummie de Mummie) since 2014. Pieter van Rijn directed several television series, including Flikken Maastricht (2007-2017) and Celblock H (2014-2017), the Dutch adaptation of the Australian drama Wentworth. He also helmed movies like Pluk van de petteflet (co-directed by Ben Sombogaart), a 2004 adaptation of the book by Annie M.G. Schmidt, and Familieweekend (2016).

Simon Floret carries on his mission after a 40-year interruption, with outdated gadgets and a very special car. Not a BMW roadster but an irresistible 1970s blue DAF 44 having something more. TV, stage and movie actor Beau Schneider, well-known by Dutch viewers for his role in Goede tijden, slechte tijden, plays the secret agent in a blend of elegance and (soft) derision. Simon is a tenacious Roger Moore kind of James Bond who has a little bit of Inspector Clouseau's clumsiness. This fish out of water in tuxedo finds welcome allies in the enthusiastic Tim, played by Stijn van der Plas, and "Lexie", who now sells flowers under her true name Alexandra Markies (Lieneke Le Roux).

Aus Greidanus sr (De Zaak Menten) portrays Directeur Dekker. One of the actor's sons, Kay Greidanus, was cast as the younger Freek in the pre-credit sequence. Presenter and actress Nienke de la Rive Box is Karin MacKenton, a NGD agent with a dog problem. Fun and smart, MeesterSpion can be enjoyed by both children and adults. There are nods to North by Northwest, Mission: Impossible or Get Smart. The NGD logo reminds of SHIELD and U.N.C.L.E. The NGD security guards and Freek's idiotic Russian goons seem straight out of a Home Alone film. The excellent Bondian music was composed by Matthijs Kieboom and Martijn Schimmer. The cool title song Give You All I Got is performed by Maan, winner of The Voice of Holland in 2016.

Also starring Simone van Bennekom (Young Lexie), Patrick Stoof (Leonard de Wolf), Cynthia Abma (Tine de Wolf), Bianca Krijgsman (Juf), Frits Lambrechts (Henk), Mike Weerts, Fabian Jansen & Steef Cuijpers (Security guards), Ad van Kempen (Henk's brother), Liz Vergeer (Eefje de Wolf), Brennan Wilkes (Tommie), Brian Worm (Dave), Julian Ras (Jules), Leonid Vlasov (Serguei), Oleg Kovalev (Boris), etc. Produced by PV Pictures with Avrotros and the support of CoBo and Netherlands Film Production Incentive. Cinematography by Joris Kerbosch. Editing by Michiel Boesveldt. Production designed by Dimitri Merkoulov. Costumes by Margriet Procee. Title design by Brat Ljatifi (Brat Creative).

Distributed by Entertainment One. Master Spy won the Gryphon 6+ award at the Giffoni Film Festival 2017 and the Jule Price at Kinder Film Fest Münster 2017. Dutch author of young readers books Marcel van Driel wrote the novelization (published by Van Goor).

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