“Ferry” is a straight-up old-fashioned “mobster grows morals” thriller from The Netherlands, a movie that doesn’t surprise but does what it does with efficiency and a hint of style.
And I don’t think it gives too much away saying that this Cecilia Verheyden film, script by Nico Moolenaar and Bart Uytdenhouwen, is an homage to “Miller’s Crossing,” because it is.
The title character (Frank Lammers) is a hulking “enforcer” for Amsterdam mob boss Brink )(Huub Stapel). When Brink’s counting room is robbed and his son is killed, Ferry is the pitiless tough he sends to “The South” for answers, and revenge.
“I want you to find them, and I want you to shoot them.”
“The South” is where Ferry came from, the poorer trailer park corner of Holland that doesn’t make it onto the windmills and wooden shoes postcards, a region far removed from the hip, touristy, sexually and pharmaceutically-liberated Amsterdam.
The script is sort of a mobster procedural. See what resources Ferry calls on to get his first lead, see where he goes to get some names. And in this case, check out the past he was running away from.
The opening scene shows his traumatic but toughening trailer park childhood, where he and his sister had to stick together under an abusive alcoholic’s manufactured-housing roof. Now, he’s catching up with that estranged sister (Monic Hendrickx), mainly because her husband (Raymond Thiry) was an old running mate.
Ferry embeds himself in a trailer park and waits. Danielle (Elise Schaap) is the damsel he rescues at the carnival, the neighbor he flirts with in the park and a woman who makes him wonder if there’s more to life than the one he’s been leading. He even starts to feel guilty about his sister, who is dying and all he wants is information from her husband.
The “investigation” isn’t deep or canny, the violence isn’t anything fancy. Tell me who you worked with, tell me who you’re working for, and no, there’s not much chance I still won’t shoot you if you do.
Lammers has a sort of Oliver Platt look with a Michael Shannon vibe. His Ferry learned from the school of hard knocks. He isn’t educated, sophisticated or even overly cunning. Brute strength, bulk and revolvers with a willingness to use them covers for a lot of disadvantages when it comes to life-or-death situations.
Schaap’s high-mileage Danielle is very pretty woman who started out in the hole and got beaten down every time she crawled out of it. I like that she’s not self-pitying, although her interest in her “rescuer” seems more primal than realistic.
Film buffs will catch the references to “Miller’s Crossing” even if nobody else does. That makes this a B-movie with a little something extra. What’s more important is that it’s a B-movie that works.
MPA Rating: TV-MA, violence, drug abuse, nudity
Cast: Frank Lammers, Elise Schaap, Huub Stapel, Monic Hendrickx and Raymond Thiry
Credits: Directed by Cecilia Verheyden, script by Nico Moolenaar, Bart Uytdenhouwen. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:46