This is not your typical Dutch film, and just in case you thought about it – no, it is not a documentary about The Waterboys (a U.K. folk rock band that was big in the 1980s). This film is about the relationship between a father who hasn’t grown up yet, and a way too serious and worrisome son. As the film poster states: “Je vader kun je niet kiezen, je zoon ook niet”, which means: “you cannot choose your father, nor your son.”
Waterboys is directed by Robert Jan Westdijk whose name is well-known in the Dutch film industry with films such as Zusje (1995) and Phileine zegt sorry (2003). His latest film De eetclub (2010) – a book adaptation – failed drastically at the box-office. However, with Waterboys he excelled himself. In Waterboys, Westdijk abandons the romantic-comedy genre and embraces the comical and dramatic adventure of two men’s coming of age.
The film starts with bad news for Victor Mullock Brouwer (Leopold Witte) – a charming writer who has never grown up and lives from party to party. He discovers that his wife wants a divorce and is put out of his home. His son Zack (Tim Linde) is a young amateur musician and a very passionate person. However, he is having trouble getting over his girlfriend who just broke up with him. He – too – is kicked out of his home. Both heartbroken men embark on a trip to Edinburgh, where Victor is going to promote his book. Here, they learn more about each other and themselves. Both protagonists are brought closer by their love for The Waterboys’ music, and the absence of Zack’s mother.
Waterboys portrays a father-son relationship that is very superficial until both strand in the same boat. The actors do a great work in presenting the awkward but warm relationship that these male protagonists have. Moreover, the intensity of the emotions is beautifully captured by the close-ups and the music (composed by The Waterboys themselves).
Compared to other Dutch films, this one feels different. It is not a rom-com nor a (war-)drama genre (which are the ‘usual suspects’ in the Dutch film industry). Waterboys is just a simple and delightful story about a father-son’s relationship.
Cover image: Screenshot Waterboys – Victor and Zack, two heartbroken men.