The Treatment makes for harrowing viewing; this Belgium-made dark psychological thriller is not for the faint of heart. The movie follows chief inspector Nick Cafmeyer, a detective whose latest case – investigating a serial killer with ties to a child paedophile ring – forces him to confront his own dark past. Understandably, the subject matter of this movie makes for some tough scenes, so it is perhaps best avoided by those with a weak stomach. But for those who are able to handle the pressure, The Treatment is a slick thriller that knows how to ratchet up the tension and keep the viewer guessing, ending in a satisfying finale.
The camera follows Cafmeyer – played skilfully by Belgian actor Geert Van Rampelberg – as a man in the midst of a mental breakdown. Cafmeyer uncovers links between the disturbing case that he is investigating, and the abduction of his brother as a child. The on-the-edge detective is also being harassed by the main suspect in his case: sinister neighbour Ivan Plettinckx, a masterfully menacing performance by veteran actor Johan van Assche.
To reveal much more is to spoil the plot of the movie, but things ebb and flow deliciously, and the audience is never completely certain who the villain is, until the final half hour. And what a final half hour that is! Lovers of the genre will relish this; the film is truly everything that a psychological thriller should be. This is tense, edge-of-the seat stuff, with a twist behind every corner. The Treatment’s dark labyrinthine plot reads like a novel, which is no surprise, given that it is based on a novel by award-winning British crime-writer Mo Hayder. The transfer of the plot from London to multilingual Belgium gives everything an additional layer of complexity.
The film is excellently shot, dark and atmospheric. Director Hans Herbots does a great job in manipulating the audience’s emotions. This is a movie whose plot will stay with the viewer even after leaving the theatre… but given the movie’s bleak subject matter, this might not be a good thing. Whatever the view, nobody can deny that The Treatment packs a hefty psychological punch.
Verdict: Three Stars
This article was originally published here.