Admiral: Michiel de Ruyter (2015)
Running Time: 151 mins. Rating: 4 Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Roel Reiné
Language: Dutch, English and French w/English subtitles
Distributor: XLrator Media (USA) – currently running on Netflix (subscription) and Amazon Video ($3.99)
Cast: Frank Lammers, Charles Dance, Rutger Hauer, Daniel Brocklebank, Ella-June Henrard, Barry Atsma,Egbert Jan Weeber
In an excellent piece of storytelling, ADMIRAL brings to life Michiel de Ruyter (1607-1676), brilliant naval strategist, creator of the Dutch Marines, family man and stabilizing citizen of the recently created Republic of the Netherlands. With political and familial ties between the great houses of Europe threatening to tear apart the young Republic, Michiel de Ruyter (Frank Lammers) is asked to take over after Admiral Maarten Tromp (Rutger Hauer) is killed in battle by the English forces under King Charles II (Charles Dance). What pulls at de Ruyter is his neglected family, his desire to see his beloved Holland not be torn apart in a civil war between the Republicans and the Orangists under Prince Willem III (Egbert Jan Weeber) and to modernize the naval fleet to protect his homeland and their merchant fleet.
While taking time off from a bathroom remodeling project, I sat down to see what was interesting and recently added on Netflix. I don’t normally write about what moves me, but this film definitely caused me to put words to computer screen. When I sat down to watch this film, I first realized that the audio was in Dutch and had to turn on the English subtitles). After settling in with a hot cup of mocha coffee, I became fully engrossed in the characters and storyline, totally ignoring incoming text messages and email alerts on my cellphone. The story starts with the battle off the Dutch coastline that results in the death of Admiral Tromp and with de Ruyter commanding his own ship to outmaneuver the British into retreat, thereby saving the Dutch to fight another day. Upon returning to shore, de Ruyter is asked by the new Prime Minister to become Admiral of the fleet. Captain de Ruyter declines, opting to retire and spend time with his family. Tromp’s son pressures the Prime Minister into appointing him to follow in his father’s footsteps, only to fail miserably. Captain de Ruyter agrees to come out of retirement, but only if his ideas to modernize the fleet are accepted. The rest, as they say, is history.
From epic naval battles, to a daring mission into the homebase of the English fleet at Chatham, to royal court intrigue and growing civil unrest, this film will appeal to those who love history, military battles, political thrillers and the deep-level honesty and integrity of one man to forge a strong will to do what is right for his family, his fighting men and his country. I guarantee that if you truly understand these underlying virtues of a good man, then you will not be unmoved by the ending. We need more men and women in today’s world with the caliber of Michiel de Ruyter.
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