Detective Nick Cafmeyer (Geert van Rampelberg) is a haunted man: when he was nine, his younger brother disappeared, never to be found again. Although convicted local paedophile Plettinckx was arrested on suspicion, his guilt was never proven.
As though it weren’t bad enough that upon release Plettinckx moved near Nick and spends his days harassing him with letters and tasteless pranks, a new case emerges that Nick can’t ignore. There’s a killer targeting families on the loose: taking the parents hostage, murdering them, kidnapping the children, sexually abusing them and ultimately killing them. Now Nick has to use all his skills, know-how and experience in figuring out what motivates this monstrous killer before there are any more victims, and perhaps lay his own ghosts to rest along the way.
Hans Herbots’s adaptation of Mo Hayder’s novel might, at first glance, seem like a typical neo-noir in the line of The Killing and The Bridge: with a haunted central figure, a notorious criminal and a general, pervading sense of darkness, the film has similarities with many of its Nordic predecessors.
However it is the director’s ability to elevate the material beyond its pulp novel origins that makes The Treatment unique: supported by strong performances from a terrific cast across the board, the film’s relentless confrontation of a very difficult subject turns it into a careful study of obsession and forgiveness, underlined by compelling social comment.
Haunting, frightening and essential, this is the sort of film that only comes along once in a blue moon, shakes you to your core and stays with you for days to come: proving the power of the crime genre, it is a visually stunning masterpiece that is impossible to forget.
Watch the trailer: