A Brussels homicide cop (Jérémie Renier) begins to lose control of his life as he tries to solve a bizarre murder.
Pieter Van Hees
Worlds collide, fears come alive, and nightmares bleed into reality in the psychological thriller Waste Land. Belgian writer-director Pieter Van Hees plunges us into an unsettling and blood-soaked world, providing a contemporary take on the classic film noir.
Hard-edged and hard-working homicide detective Leo Woeste (Jérémie Renier) spends his days confronting the grim criminal underworld of Brussels, and finds solace in his domestic life with partner Kathleen (Natali Broods) and her five-year-old son. While Leo is working to solve the brutal murder of a young Congolese-Belgian man, he and Kathleen discover that she's unexpectedly pregnant with their first child together. He vows to make this his final homicide case, and follows the trail deep into a bizarre subculture involving the mysterious trade of Congolese idols. When he finds himself drawn to the victim's sexy and enigmatic sister (Babetida Sadjo), Leo begins to slip away from the very family life he is trying to protect, and his fears about fatherhood and the nature of evil consume him. His animal instincts take hold, and he spirals into the abyss of his own darkness, haunted by the question of whether he'll be able to claw his way back.
Van Hees employs a chaptered structure aligned with the months of Kathleen's pregnancy, cleverly striking a sharp contrast to Leo's increasingly unstructured, unravelling life. Featuring the arresting images of cinematographer Menno Mans, and an unnerving central performance from Renier, Waste Land reminds us that perhaps the worst kind of fear is that of our own making.