De Aanslag means The Assault or The Attack in Dutch, but it also means something that clouds your view of the world like condensation on a mirror or glasses. De Aanslag starts during the last days of Nazi occupied Holland while the rest of Europe was liberated, the Dutch still waited for the eventual arrival of the Canadians. Anton and his family are sitting down for a meager dinner when shots ring out. Soon a man is dead in front of their house. Ultimately, Anton is the only one who gets out of the situation while the rest of his family is killed and his house burned to the ground. We never see anything from outside the house.
For the rest of the film we watch Anton go through life without purpose, without a cause. He is trapped in the evening when he and his family despite not collaborating, resisting, or being Jewish had their lives shattered during the occupation. He has chance encounters with people from the past who each in turn reveal more of what happened that night till we finally get the complete picture. The final shot of the film is a copy of the last shot from King Vidor’s The Crowd (1928) where the camera pulls back until the main character is lost in the crowd. Only instead of the man becoming a face in the crowd, Anton is reintegrated back into the flow of time and marches forward with the kids protesting nukes.
I am not going to say this movie is bad because the only version I could get a hold of was a butchered version from MGM on VHS. All the Dutch was dubbed into English, the film was pan and scanned, and the film had 30 minutes removed. I have been provided with a full version on DVD, but I won’t be able to understand the language because there are only Dutch subtitles. However, since very annoying and unnecessary voice-over narration nearly single-handedly ruined the film. I should be able to determine whether this was a massive mistake on director Fons Rademakers part or whether it was MGM’s way of patching over the missing 30 minutes. Till then, approach with caution.