If ever you want to be put off the movie biz, this Belgian film should do the trick. It depicts the making of a feature, also called Shades, about serial killer Freddie Lebecq (DeCleir), a figure loosely modelled on real murderer Freddy Horion. Producer Vogel (Bervoets) is struggling to cope with an egotistic star (Howard), hostile public reaction, and washed-up director Paul Sullivan. Oh, and to make things even more interesting, Lebecq is up for parole from prison, so has a keen interest in proceedings. It says something that Mickey Rourke's Sullivan is the most sympathetic participant, just ahead of Lebecq, whose criminal career was started by a jail sentence for a robbery he didn't actually commit.
The rest of the characters are all screwing everyone else, literally or figuratively; I suspect writer Guy Lee Thys must have had some bad experiences, since you'll come away with a very low impression of film-makers in general. Can't help liking Vogel though, whose single-minded devotion to finishing his movie, at all costs, can only be admired. The mix of Flemish and English dialogue is kinda clunky, and the final confrontation doesn't really make a lot of sense. Still, it's doing something different from the usual Euro-pudding, and as a bleak and cynical look at the business of cinema, and media manipulation in general, it connects with a good number of powerful jabs.