It becomes apparent within a mere matter of moments that Hans Herbots’ The Treatment – an adaptation of the eponymous Mo Hayder novel – is an affectionately traditional thriller, abiding by the unspoken rules and tropes of the genre at hand. Though in many cases such conventionality would be detrimental, there’s also a security about it, a safety of sorts. However in this instance, any such comfortability is short lived, as a film that is by no means for the faint-hearted, leaving very little to the imagination.

Our hero is Inspector Nick Cafmeyer, played by Geert Van Rempelberg. The beleaguered detective is haunted by memories of his younger brother, who went missing when just a child, and a case that remains unsolved. So when a similar set of events crop up, it brings a host of emotions to the forefront, as he fervently attempts to track down the elusive, sadistic villain that has sexually tortured families, and in particular, young boys. Cafmeyer has a few suspects he’s keeping an eye on, but he hasn’t got any time to ponder, as the nefarious criminal has struck again, and will do so again before it’s too late.

There is not a vast amount of substantial back story to this title, as we all know of our protagonist is his dark past, and the tragedy which struck his family decades earlier. While that’s all we need to set this tale, some extensive character development would certainly be welcomed. Instead, we delve straight into the crux of the narrative, and Herbots’ ensures the title is unrelenting, and uncompromising from thereon. This Belgian thriller does feel somewhat contrived in how overtly theatrical it becomes however, epitomised when Cafmeyer confronts a suspect at a swimming pool. The guy has nowhere to turn, there are police surrounding the area and he knows he’s to be taken in for questioning – then, entirely unprovoked, our protagonist jumps into the pool and carries the hapless suspect out like Hasselhoff would a drowning child in Baywatch. So needless – and now Cafmeyer has wet jeans, and nobody likes wet jeans.

The lack of emotional investment in this title predominantly derives from the aforementioned lack of character development. With such a complex story and a myriad of suspects, victims and law enforcers, you can’t help but feel that this title would work best as a three part TV series, allowing the time to paint clearer pictures of those involved, in a similar vein to Prime Suspect, or more recently, Broadchurch. Instead this feels rushed, with too much to conclude and deal within the boundaries of a mere feature length movie.

Regrettably Van Rempelberg’s Cafmeyer is not nuanced nor idiosyncratic enough, without the distinctive personality to quite carry this title. With a more absorbing lead, crafted more substantially, it would help allow the viewer in, to engage with the role, empathise with him, and thus immerse themselves in the narrative. However without these valuable components, you’re sadly left with a somewhat hackneyed, underwhelming piece of cinema.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
The Treatment
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Stefan Pape is the reviews and interviews editor for the site. Considering his favourite thing to do is watch a movie and then annoy everybody by talking about it - it's safe to say he's in the right job.