The Fourth Man

The Fourth Man
The Fourth Man

Original film poster
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Produced by Rob Houwer
Written by Gerard Reve (novel)
Gerard Soeteman
Starring Jeroen Krabbé
Renée Soutendijk
Thom Hoffman
Dolf de Vries
Music by Loek Dikker
Cinematography Jan de Bont
Editing by Ine Schenkkan
Studio Rob Houwer Productions
Release date(s) 24 March 1983 (Netherlands)
Running time 102 minutes
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch

The Fourth Man (Dutch: De Vierde Man) is a 1983 Dutch suspense film directed by Paul Verhoeven, based on the novel De Vierde Man by Gerard Reve. The film stars Jeroen Krabbé and Renée Soutendijk in the lead roles.



Gerard Reve (Jeroen Krabbé), an alcoholic, bisexual novelist, leaves Amsterdam to deliver a lecture at the Vlissingen Literary Society. There, he becomes sexually involved with its attractive treasurer, Christine Halslag (Renée Soutendijk), who is alternately described as a witch, black widow, Delilah and the Devil. The Virgin Mary appears to him in visions to show that he is targeted as her fourth victim. Mary says, "Anyone given a warning must listen to it." Gerard listens and his life is spared. He passes on the warning to Herman, Christine's other lover, who ignores it, thinking that Gerard is trying to scare him off so that he can have Christine for himself. The movie ends with Herman's death, Christine's selection of a fifth victim and Gerard's future uncertain.

Reception & Themes

The film was a decent box office hit in the Netherlands, gaining 274,699 admissions, a modest figure compared to the millions of visitors his previous films had. The film was more successful in the United States where it received widespread critical acclaim. It currently holds a 100% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is his highest rated film. Paul Verhoeven says:

The Fourth Man has to do with my vision of religion. In my opinion, Christianity is nothing more than one of many interpretations of reality, neither more nor less. Ideally, it would be nice to believe that there is a God somewhere out there, but it looks to me as if the whole Christian religion is a major symptom of schizophrenia in half the world's population: civilizations scrambling to rationalize their chaotic existence. Subsequently, Christianity has a tendency to look like magic or the occult. And I liked that ambiguity, because I wanted my audience to take something home with them. I wanted them to wonder about what religion really is. Remember, that Christianity is a religion grounded in one of the most violent acts of murder, the crucifixion. Otherwise, religion wouldn't have had any kind of impact. With regard to the irony of the violence, much of that probably comes from my childhood experiences during and immediately following the Second World War. In fact, if it hadn't been for the German occupation and then the American occupation, I would have never been a filmmaker.


Ranked #93 in Empire magazines "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.[1]


See also


External links

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