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‘Tricked’

by Giovanni Fazio

Crowd-funding a film has been tried before, but crowd-sourcing? That’s what director Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct”) tried to do with “Tricked,” a Dutch film that looks at a philandering businessman, his disgruntled family and his pregnant former mistress on the occasion of his 50th birthday party. Verhoeven had a professional screenwriter prepare an open-ended five-minute start to the movie, and then invited the public to submit their own scripts for the rest of it, five-minute chapters at a time.

Tricked
Rating
Director Paul Verhoeven
Language Dutch (subtitled in Japanese)

It’s the sort of amateur effort that the Net evangelists — with their love of “content” that doesn’t involve paying anyone for its creation — are loudly proclaiming will replace the film and music industries. Yet Verhoeven wound up writing most of it himself, calling the process of going through around 35,000 submissions “a nightmare,” and discarding literally thousands of scripts while retaining only a few ideas. “The public can’t write,” he moaned to the BBC. “Not professionally, anyway. … They had no idea of narrative structure.” Kudos to Verhoeven for experimenting, and the results are certainly not a failure — although with a penchant for repeated plot twists over character — but it certainly serves as a healthy reminder of that old “too many cooks” adage.