Free Men Movie Review

In German-occupied Paris, Younes (Rahim) is a young Algerian who sells black-market goods to North African immigrants. When he's arrested, the cops offer him freedom if he agrees to spy on a local mosque leader (Lonsdale) who's suspected of hiding Jews by giving them identity papers saying they are Muslims. At the mosque, Younes falls for the mysterious Leila (Azabal) and befriends the gifted musician Salim (Shalaby). And he's unnerved to discover that Leila is actually a notorious resistance fighter, while Salim is secretly Jewish.Filmmaker Ferroukhi tells this story with a strong attention to detail, keeping the period settings nicely understated while concentrating on the character interaction, which is complex and involving. But a slow-burning approach, combined with the dry screenplay, never injects much emotional energy into the film, which leaves it feeling almost like a museum piece: a meticulous retelling of an important story without artistic passion.

That said, the actors are all terrific, most notably the magnetic Rahim, through whose eyes we watch the events unfold. He beautifully plays Younes' quiet discovery of each layer of truth, from his initial carefree lawlessness to agreeing to help the authorities and ultimately to risking his life to save people he perhaps should be shunning. But the film beautifully points out that Islam isn't about hating the Jews: it's about respecting human life.And there's a lot more going on in the story. Strong subplots involving both Leila and Salim are only barely touched upon and could actually be expanded into much more engaging movies than this one. And this is a refreshingly restrained depiction of the Nazis. Sure, they're tenacious and inhuman, but they're also never vilified into cartoon villains, which subtly makes them even more chilling. And even if it lacks any real kick, the film is an important account of normal, flawed people doing what they can in terrible circumstances.

PICS: http://outnow.ch/Movies/2011/HommesLibres/Bilder/

Cast & Crew

Director : Ismael Ferroukhi

Producer :

Starring : , , , Mahmoud Shalaby, Farid Larbi, Stephane Rideau, Marie Berto, Zakariya Gouram

Comments

Free Men Rating

" Good "

Rating: 15, 2011

Advertisement

More Tahar Rahim

Grand Central Trailer

Gary has been in and out of low-paid work for most of his young life despite being physically fit and able to adapt to most...

The Informant Trailer

Marc Duval is struggling to support his family in France as he is faced with an increased financial pressure. However, he is offered a chance...

The Past [Le Passé] Movie Review

Like his award-winning drama A Separation, this French drama from Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi is packed with complex characters who have detailed, full lives. And...

The Past Trailer

Academy Award Nominated, Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) Directs and writes this critically acclaimed, character driven drama orientated around the emotional destruction and discovery caused by...

Advertisement

'The Past' Emerges As Early Favourite For Palme d'Or At Cannes Film Festival

Iranian Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi, who made his name in the industry with the incredible A Seperation, is potentially sitting on the Palme d'Or after his...

Our Children [A Perdre la Raison] Movie Review

One of the most unsettling movies of the year, this sharply made drama shifts inexorably from blissful romance to something darkly horrific. It's so understated...

Eagle Trailer

Marcus Aquila has always believed his father - the commander of the Ninth legion - was a great warrior yet he's never truly been at...

A Prophet Trailer

Watch the trailer for A Prophet Malik is a nineteen year old boy who's sent to prison. He's one of the youngest inmates and must...

Advertisement