The appeal of this darkly comic Belgian drama lies in its quirky characters and outrageous plot, revolving around a formidable foursome of sisters who conspire to kill the husband of their fifth sister, the long-suffering Goedele.
Jean-Claude Delcorps is a nasty piece of work and as the narrative progresses, we learn more about how he earned this nickname “De Kloot” (no prizes for guessing the translation.) The list of people he has wronged increases with each episode, to include not only his relatives but also his neighbours, co-workers and even the owner of the local Chinese takeaway.
These incidents are shown in flashbacks, as we know from the outset that Jean-Claude ends up dead, we just don’t know whodunnit, or how, but the more we learn about him, the more there is to despise. His hobbies include making anonymous crank calls for his own amusement, including a tip-off to the police which results in his friend being arrested. All four sisters have their own reasons for wanting to kill him and we share their anguish when their failed attempts have unfortunate repercussions.
Jean-Claude’s death is being investigated by two life insurance men and suspicion soon falls on the sisters. They carry out a series of interviews in the hope of finding a reason to avoid paying out on the policy, as this would be the last nail in the coffin for their cash-strapped company. When one of them takes a fancy to Bekka, the youngest of the five sisters, this adds further complications to the tangled web of intrigue.
The script is strong enough to overcome the minor setback of having to follow the dialogue through subtitles, and when the characters start cursing, it’s entertaining to hear how many Anglo-Saxon swear words find their way into in the conversation.
The odd blend of light-hearted moments and dark deeds can occasionally jar, but when it comes to originality, this off-beat comedy thriller puts most others in the shade.
Released on DVD on Monday 19 September 2016 by Arrow Films.
Buy the box set on Amazon here.
What did you think of The Out-Laws? Let us know below…