Paul Verhoeven at Odeon Great Northern

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
Odeon Manchester

Paul Verhoeven, 27 April–23 May 2022, from £6.50 - Book now

With Paul Verhoeven’s thorny nunsploitation movie Benedetta freshly released in UK cinemas, Odeon are taking the opportunity to showcase some of the controversial Dutch filmmaker’s biggest Hollywood hits. Scheduled across April and May, Manchester filmgoers can catch five of the cult director’s films – plus Benedetta – in a survey of a career that mixes sex, violence and bombast with in-your-face satire and slick provocations.

From the all too often misunderstood anti-fascist sci-fi of Starship Troopers (Wed 27 April), to the heightened drama of his skewering of the American Dream in his masterful Las Vegas romp, Showgirls (Wed 11 May), this season of Verhoeven showcases the moviemaker’s unique ability to feed America’s foibles back through its own mythmaking machine.

a survey of a career that mixes sex, violence and bombast with in-your-face satire and slick provocations

Some have called Verhoeven out for having his cake and eating it too, as he adopts an ironic distance while indulging in the basest thrills of American genre film. He has been criticised for his methods and his implications, and while Basic Instinct  – showing on Monday 2 May – provoked some of the sharpest barbs, it remains a thrilling, raw-nerved riff on Hitchcock that will be assessed and reassessed for decades to come.

There can be no doubting impact of the director’s most commonly praised work though. The season at Odeon Great Northern concludes with a one-two punch of Total Recall (Mon 16 May) and Robocop (Mon 23 May). A pair of hyper-violent, deceptively cerebral, sci-fi classics, these are Verhoeven at his bombastic audience-pleasing best – full of quips, satisfying spectacle and ugly undertones.

Paul Verhoeven

27 April–23 May 2022
From £6.50