See No Evil?

With Hollow Man, provocateur Paul Verhoeven tests the viewer's capacity to distinguish sadism from seduction

To accept that an audience's allegiances could be so perverse--so profane--requires a truly dark belief in what Verhoeven would call the seductive power of evil: Raping your sexy neighbor can be understandable, perhaps even a little titillating, but bumping off man's best friend is simply unforgivable. And yet the director's sense of the public's complicity in such blithe cruelty has its roots in history.

"I would say it comes from growing up in Holland when it was occupied by the Germans," says Verhoeven. "I could see in a very close-up way how the whole German nation was seduced by Hitler in the early Thirties, how it took people ten years to realize where he had gotten them. If you look at the reaction of the German people during the years before the war, people were following [Hitler] throughout. Whatever measures were taken against the Jews, whatever happened to the Gypsies, it was only in 1939, finally, when [the Nazis] started to kill what they called "mentally deficient people," when they started using euthanasia, that the Catholics started to react and say, 'This cannot be done.'"

Now--would anyone care to change her vote on Showgirls?

 

Hollow Man starts Friday at area theaters.

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