sat 18/09/2021

Ferry review - the making of a Dutch gangster | reviews, news & interviews

Ferry review - the making of a Dutch gangster

Ferry review - the making of a Dutch gangster

Netflix capitalises on trend of 'origin stories' to promote one of its own TV series

Frank Lammers as Ferry

Success for the Belgian-Dutch crime series Undercover has led Netflix to produce an origin story for the show’s drug lord character Ferry Bouman (Frank Lammers). While this may be a dream come true for a portion of the show’s diehard fans, this formulaic movie is stalling, predictable and riddled with every gangster cliché in the book.

Before he made it big, Ferry Bouman was the right hand man to one of Amsterdam’s senior drug kings Ralph Brink. After their gang is brutally attacked and Ralph’s son is killed, Ferry is sent on a revenge mission. He finds himself in a mobile camping community near his hometown of Brabant, where his dying sister still lives. Plot lines are wrenched together as Ferry has to contend with old family ties and a new romance that threatens his gangland allegiances.

Ferry is a slothful, surly but weirdly lovable gangster, who drinks Red Bull for breakfast and wears bright patterned shirts. In his boss’s hangout, he slobbers up kebab meat straight from the grill. “Lekker”, he snorts, and we excuse the insouciance because of his goofball charm. At the caravan park where he sleuths around for the men that attacked his gang, he impresses a neighbor, Danielle. She could not be more his opposite. She lives alone with her cat, runs an amusement stall at the local fair and is totally innocent. A bond happens, and although it feels forced initially we go along with it because in almost every other area this film is pretty bleak.

Ferry on theartsdeskUnfortunately, this dynamic is not enough to redeem an otherwise vacuous film. You have to work so hard to believe the twists, to fathom the minor characters, to be held by the suspense. It all requires too much effort. Lovers of the Undercover show might enjoy seeing their characters in a fresh context. But many will feel cheated by this hasty spin-off. Ferry is pure opportunism. Aside from the slapdash story and limited characterisation, there is not a single unique contribution to the crime or gangster genre. We’ve seen it all before.

Does Ferry deserve his origin story? Although Undercover has been popular, it premiered in 2019 and there have only been two series of the show. As loveable as Ferry may be, he is in a different category to The Joker or Wonder Woman, whose recent origin films felt deserved because of the rich cultural history of those characters. In expanding the “Ferry Universe”, Netflix is only expanding its own universe. Ferry is designed to place Netflix in the front row. New voices, stylistic experimentation, original filmmaking and even its own viewers, can all take a back seat.

We excuse Ferry's insouciance because of his goofball charm

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Comments

I thought "Ferry" was absolutely great. I total disagree with the article. I believed the whole thing and i m an even bigger fan of Ferr & Daan! I was quite disapointed by the second serie of Undercover and thought Ferry was missing... The Film made me all happy again. I thought it was really well directed too. Very natural, credble = success!

Was it high art? No. Was it 90 minutes of Ferry & Daan? Yes. Is that all fans needed? Yes. Get over yourself, pal Also ... if you're going to pan a movie, get basic fact right. Daan lived with her dog, Shakira, not a cat. (Did you even watch the movie or did you skim it?) Anyway ... if you loved Ferry & Daan in Undercover, you'll love this.

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