14.5.17

A Film a Week - Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman

Those acquainted with the previous works by Steffen (Haars) and Flip (van der Kuil), the filmmaking duo from The Netherlands, know what to expect. Their films are technically polished, well-made, genre-oriented and all-over fun and marked with a special tongue-in-cheek, politically incorrect and taboo-breaking sense of humour which crosses a line or two, sometimes falls flat, but most of the time hits a target dead-on.

Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman (2017), which had its international premiere at the Crossing Europe Film Festival in Linz, is Steffan & Flip’s fourth feature effort, after two New Kids movies Turbo (2010) and Nitro (2011) (as the follow up of the hit TV series) and Bro’s Before Ho’s (2013). It is more plot-driven than both New Kids movies and wilder in the sense of the adolescent humour than their previous films, but it gives us the unique perspective of the contemporary Dutch society. And prepare to have a blast!

The title character, played by Steffen’s brother Tim Haars, is a drunk from Zundert, once known as Van Gogh’s birthplace. Ron Goossens’ attempt to jump over the bridge in his car as a bet goes viral on YouTube, making him an instant celebrity. But his main trouble is at home: his cheating wife is about to leave him unless he proves himself worthy to her by seducing model-turned-actress Bo Maerrten (played by herself).

The only way out seems to be a job offer of a down on his luck agent Berrie (Michiel Romeyn). Not minding to get himself hurt in the process, Ron could become a low-budget stuntman, saving the struggling Dutch film industry lots of money and simultaneously getting his chance with the beautiful Bo. First steps are always hard, but whatever Ron is, he is not a quitter.

Crazy stunts, drunken jokes, shenanigans and the sheer ridiculousness of the whole idea aside, Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman really works. It is not about the title character becoming a better man and a starlet proving that she has a personality behind the looks or even about trying to get out of the same old-same old loser milieu and the mentality of constant badgering and casual racial slurs out of the blue. We have seen it all before.

But what Steffen and Flip get spot-on is the modern celebrity culture consisting of YouTube overnight sensations and people famous just for being famous. All the celebrities in the film were played by the actual people who make fun of themselves. And some of the stuff, like the whole Dennie Christian schlager-singer comeback, is simply great. Also, the films within the films are a brilliant, eye-stabbing provocation, dealing with the actual affairs, pedophile scandals and terrorist attacks that shocked the Dutch society.

Yes, the low-brow comedy can be fun and it can be smart and clever, too. Steffen and Flip films are all about that. What we expect is what we get. And we can enjoy it.