Typically European and handled with a pertinent directness, the film helmed by then first feature director Reinout Oerlemans (film was first natively released in 2009) gets to the unfamiliar audience with little room for imagination. Tinkering with a haphazard editing style to cinematically reflect its protagonist's hectic life of liberty, obligations, and infidelity, Oerlemans is clearly getting his audience to judge the lead character for themselves.
Depending on opinion, this one finds it somewhat superficial and unnecessarily overdone.
This is before realising that the film is largely based upon the autobiography by Ray Kluun, who has somewhat portrayed his life openly for others to read and well, perhaps criticise. Through Stijn, we get to witness his progress from a successful advertising entrepreneurship to his blissful marriage with his perfect wife Carmen (played by the beautiful Carice van Houten - "Valkyrie", "Repo Men") and finally subjected to certain torment from his wife's unfortunate terminal disease(s) battle.
What might have been an archetypal melodramatic genre practice is being treated with an incessant amount of sex and infidelity that is intended beyond its superficiality.
Easily strayed to believe that the amount of sexual activities is largely meant to drive "production values", it is also symbolic of Stijn's flamboyant lifestyle (and sexual addiction) that is void of responsibilities. This is balanced by the slower scenes where he stays to care for his ill wife, as we observe him faithfully accompanying Carmen to chemotherapy sessions and surgeries.
Stijn's love for Carmen is evident despite his adamant tendencies for infidelity.
Breast cancer seems to be one of the key elements in the film as it allows us to witness the implied feminism in today's context. Juxtaposing several scenes of healthy bare female chests with Carmen's ill-fated ones might have reduced her to certain appeal condemnation, but we see Carmen's character growing stronger as cancer strips away her mortality day by day.
Through Stijn, Kluun may well be seeking scrutiny and forgiveness for his questionable acts from the public. This is however, left to the discretion of each individual audience member to judge for themselves. Possibly the reason behind Oerlemans' erratic style that, in all honesty, isn't well-received. Rapid loud edits of dance clubs and sexual escapades cloud the audience's senses when the camera shuns away from Carmen's clinical scenes.
There is one particular scene to note, where Stijn and Carmen are edited in parallel where the former indulges in a night's out at a swanky club while the latter undergoes medical procedures.
With a 105 minutes' worth of such "hot-cold" techniques, it is a torture to sit through especially for one with a subjective notion of perceiving the sexually-driven film to be surface-deep. However, if dwelling deeper into the film material (and the extended melodrama in the final act that should get to our sympathy), this cinematic appeal by Kluun through Oerlemans might have been better left at its original literature medium.