Verhoeven's first feature is an incongruously jaunty tale, based on Albert Mol's novel, about two Dutch prostitutes, Greet (Bierman) and Nel (De Leur). Keen to avoid the self-consciousness of European art house cinema, the director opts for a knockabout style oddly reminiscent of Robin Askwith comedies. The encounters between the women and their clients, most of them looking like they've escaped from a George Grosz cartoon, are invariably played for laughs, but the slapstick with cream cakes and feathers is inappropriate given the humiliation the women endure. The endlessly put-upon Nel has an abusive boyfriend; Greet is more self-reliant, but can't escape her way of life. Whatever his reputation now as a master cinematographer, Jan De Bont shoots the film in a plain uninspiring fashion. Not the most auspicious of debuts.
Cast and crew
Sylvia De Leur