Wanted to post something here but got addicted to some game pretty hard, but let's have at it.
De Vierde Man or The 4th Man is a dutch film by the master of left-field comedy Paul Verhoeven, and all of its lifespan seems to me to be a wild ride that can be considered controversial in some views but mainly it was a rivalry between the director and his home country movie critics. For starters they are described by some contemporary notes as conservative and zealous of content along with their counterpart which were rabid radical hippie queers, which i think is okay in their respective terms but it seems they based their ratings on content's sympathetic nature and values presented rather than craftsmanship or script pace or anything innate to a product rather than a story (in short were very ideological) hence why they destroyed Paul's latest movie at that moment Spetters because it portrayed youths in completely degenerate freedom yet showed these underworld creatures as almost devilish imps.
Mad that everyone with the power of the pen hated his stuff the director embarked in a journey to properly piss everyone one last time, even when the movie was actually a hit (not very good to be fair) he seemed to be a man sensible to the press to gauge his own value. So in those years there was another controversy because the national book competition had a clear winner in the form of a novel which frankly was a subversive gay fest by some people and got censured hard shortly after, being replaced by a novel which was supposedly not good at all. Seeing his golden script Hov requested an adaption from the writer and ran along with it making it extra gay.
The piece itself is about a very parishioner catholic that is also a rampant degenerate with homosexual tendencies and a man who knows how to twist words into his own benefit, he's a famous writer and also an alcoholic unironically the writer's self-insert and one day he gets invited to a small but prosper town to do a talk for a literature club, but in the meantime he starts receiving strange visions of impending doom while struggling with his gay sex urges. Hilarious to write that, especially when the very transgressive role had its cast for Jeroen Krabbe, well-known character actor with comedic undertones, not to mention aggressively jewish; Verhoeven had an explosive combination from the get-go to get the critics mad with this wicked protagonist but it is the ups and downs of his journey and the actual ending that are the actual explosion of the shitcake that he served ceremoniously to the critics, you see:
The strange visions are personal Marian apparitions warning him that one of the literature's club members and wealthy stylist, played by perky ''Renee Soutendijk, is the devil in disguise playing games and just like a black widow he will kill him in a long mating ritual just like he did with her 3 previous husbands and multiple partners
After realizing at the very last moment what was happening, in the middle of a gay blowjob in a graveyard tomb mind you, our protagonist desperately tries to escape town and when trapped in death's claws after an accident he thanks Mary for Her warnings and seeks for forgiveness for his misdeeds if She was keen to hear him, all of this in the middle of a breakdown that further aggravates when the stylist appears to see how's he doing. After a brief struggle between doctors and nurses our man here is sedated by a nurse who, wait for this, is actually the woman in his visions and the one who also casually tells him to heed his premonitions in the stylist saloon, turns out she was always in-frame in the whole monologue
With an angelic tone she tells him he's protected and that nothing will harm him now, moments later in the ending she moves the writer away from all the madness into a secluded room and has a bitching staredown with the stylist who goes away with a new dude asking for trouble
If you read that you know it's a chaotic switch that both Verhoeven and the writer idealized to be as hard as possible for the critics to analyze without mixing ideology in, it's either a butt pirate who has his noble christian redemption or a "different" type of guy with flaws that functions normally in society. A tough spot for everyone and while waiting for the results the long-time producer of Verhoeven, Rob Houwer, decided he had enough defending the guy and ended their business links although in an amicable way, first heavy blow and the second one would come with the critic's association deciding not to review the movie and leave it as a niche art house product up to the public to see it or not. More or less they capitulated but the reaction was never public, and with no one wanting to touch him Verhoeven was basically blacklisted after this stunt and went to try his luck in America, packing his bags and leaving as a controversial figure yet probably their most successful representative in terms of television and film directors.
For his luck the movie was heavily in circulation on north american film festivals and was praised by critics (who honestly weren't that heterosexual or catholic to begin with, winning accolades in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, New York and Seattle) which automatically gave him the opportunity to try his luck there starting with a couple of fantasy projects co-produced with European funds akin to Neverending Story, such as Flesh + Blood and a couple of television episodes.
After proving his professional stance he went to Hollywood full time and received only crappy Cannon and Orion scripts, throwing into the trash many of them and felt into a small depression until his wife picked one up and talked her way in about modifying one to his particular satirical and subversive tastes and because they needed the money the Hov thought this was genius and started rewriting and adding depth into one about a cyborg police officer; The rest is history.