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The Treatment – Film Review

the treatment

The Treatment – Film Review by C.K. MacNamara

Director: Hans Herbots

Writer:  Mo Hayder (novel), Carl Joos

Starring: Geert van Rampelberg, Ina Geerts, Johan van Assche.

To say The Treatment is a ‘gritty crime thriller’ would be a discredit both to what Director Herbots and Writer Hayder have accomplished. Based on the novel of the same name, it is an unflinching glimpse into a genuinely depraved realm of child abuse and killers, and the poor schmuck cop dropped into the centre of the abyss and tasked with cleaning it up.

The film flies in the face of the notion that some topics are too controversial or taboo for cinematic scrutiny, and dives headlong into the abject horror of its subject matter with little regard for the comfort of the squeamish viewer. Herbots dives down the rabbit hole of human perversion, dragging the viewer along and asking how far one is willing to go to catch the rabbit, solve the case, and how much utter devastation he might sustain in the process.

Chief-Inspector Nick Cafmeyer is on the case of a haunting serial paedophile, both fuelled and crippled by his all too similar childhood trauma that is told through a creeping subplot. Inevitably the past and present blur, and fed by his obsession, Nick is gradually eroded away in the warpath of the depravity he is compelled to wade through.

Utilizing a handful of traits, symbols and psychotic ramblings Hayder crafts a genuinely haunting villain – a pseudo mythical wall-clinger known to the local children as the ‘Troll’. It is that unique breed of monster that can walk down the street in the day, and redefine horror at night.

With its ultra-realism and Neo-Noir bleakness The Treatment is a shining exception to the paradox of the crime-drama genre; to be true to your subject matter, the writer must delve into topics that are hard to stomach, and to conceptualise and portray the unspeakable. That is how to make your film true to the genre, and that is what Herbots accomplishes in grisly spades. In one tacky but sincere sentence, this film will ruin your day and your momentary faith in humanity – an odd but ringing endorsement to the quality of this crime-mystery marvel.


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