"Our enemies think
Gijs Rommeise, denounced the many inventions used to bring de Ruyter's story to life but he does conclude "that the viewer is treated to spectacular battle scenes...and a lavish view of the social, economic and religious life of the Dutch Golden Age." Much of the specialness of Admiral is the wide-angle look at the world of little Netherlands out of sight on the North Sea and out of mind of our own Anglo-American history. Since the film hurls you into an ocean filled with great sea warships and cannon fire debris without much historical context, here is some.
Frank Lammers, shown on poster, top, and three photos below) is 46 when the film opens at the battle of Scheveningen in 1653. Republican Johan de Witt (Barry Atsma) has just been elected prime minister; and as he put it, 'Our enemies think we are too rich and too free' (that's de Witt addressing the assembly, two photos above). The film makes it seem the Anglo-Dutch wars were one long battle during which de Ruyter and his family don't age or change, though from 1653 until his death (see funeral sketch below) 23 years had passed. But what does that matter in the making of a movie hero?
Charles Dance, shown below, who plays the British monarch, is only half-seriously said to have been cast to leverage some of Dance's Game of Thrones fame.)
Sanne Langelaar (below, left), as Anna de Ruyter, is not a minor figure eclipsed by her husband's fame. To this production's credit, we see Michiel's life through her eyes, as she yearns for him to stay home yet begs him to rejoin the Anglo war being waged off shore. If he doesn't go, she says, there will be no life to come back to.