Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
Starring: Barbara Sarafian, Kristine Van Pellicom, Ruth Becquart, Maaike Neuville, Inge Paulussen
Number of Episodes: 10
Number of Discs: 4
Running Time: 512 minutes
Release Date: 19 September 2016
The Outlaws is a brilliant Belgian dark comedy about five sisters and their despicable brother in law Jean Claude.
The Goethal sisters, Birgit, Veerle, Bekka and Godele have been brought up by the eldest Eva after their parent’s death and are inseparable until Goedele (Inge Paulussen) marries the obnoxious Jean-Claude (Dirk Roofthooft). Jean-Claude has no hobbies and doesn’t lift a finger around the house, expecting Goedele to do everything for him, so bored he fills his time tormenting people that are close to him. This includes his wife, sister in law, friends, work colleagues everyone he can gain a little advantage over. He will stop at nothing to has his fun and goes so far as phoning the police about illegal immigrants in the local Chinese restaurant.
After years of torment the sisters hit breaking point and hatch a plan to kill Jean-Claude, and here starts an intriguing farce where Jean-Claude seems to have at least 9 lives!
The start of the drama shows the sisters at Jean- Claude’s funeral so you know he dies, but how is the question. Each episode flashes back to the sisters plotting and trying another option and each fails with sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic consequences. One particular attempt sees Jean-Claude making a list of who may try to kill him and not surprisingly it’s a very long list. Running alongside this story is also the two exceedingly suspicious and almost bankrupt brothers from the insurance company. They are convinced that foul play is involved and know that if they pay out they go broke so they are set to investigating the case and proving that the death was under suspicious circumstances. The plot gets more complicated when one of the sisters, Bekka, falls in love with one of the brothers and they both find out information that they shouldn’t really know and feed it back to the other parties.
When Jean-Claude finally dies no one knows who did it, at first the sisters all suspect each other and then start looking for outsiders that may have hated him. They find his list in his study and realise there are plenty of suspects, but who did it, you will have to wait to the very end and a fabulous twist, to find out.
The Out-Laws is a story of secrets, and suspicions set in a backdrop of dark humour. It is a bit near the knuckle in places, due to the subject matter, but keeps you guessing to the very end. The climax isn’t obvious either which makes for great viewing. Highly recommended.
Available to buy from Amazon here.