Contemporary World Cinema
SIFF Says:This tense thriller is based on the true story of one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in Dutch history, the case of intensive care nurse Lucia de Berk, aka “The Angel of Death.” When de Berk, a woman with a complicated past, is present at one inexplicable death too many, her hospital alerts the police. Ambitious Assistant District Attorney Judith sees de Berk’s case as an opportunity to make her career, so she pieces together a prosecution based largely on circumstantial evidence. Eventually, though, the real evidence starts troubling Judith, and she discovers inconsistencies in witness statements, even the suppression of lab evidence. But can she turn back the wheels of justice? Director Paula van der Oest might be the Netherlands’ answer to Susanne Bier ( In a Better World), equally comfortable writing her own screenplays and directing others’ scripts. She is also renowned for her subtle and sensitive direction of actors, her humor, and the foregrounding of strong, independent women in her work — all qualities to the fore here.
Concerning the true story of a Dutch nurse, Lucia de Berk, who was unfairly sentenced to life in prison for a string of suspicious deaths that happened while under her watch in a hospital, Accused
is a film that has its interesting moments, almost interesting moments, and moments that are not so interesting. Most of the uninteresting moments happen in the courtroom, and most of the interesting ones happen during the events that lead to her arrest. But altogether, this film has enough dramtic power to hold your attention to the end. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
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