Outside the Law

"Very Good"

Outside the Law Review


This Oscar-nominated companion piece to 2006's Days of Glory reunites Bouchareb with his three lead actors, playing different characters (with the same names) through the following 15 years of French-Algerian history. It's a riveting, ultimately melodramatic portrait of a key moment in history.

In the mid-1950s, three Algerian brothers who have experienced pain at the hands of their colonial French rulers reunite in a Paris shantytown. Said (Debbouze) has brought their mother (Boudraa) to France as he seeks to money-making opportunities, Messaoud (Zem) is back from serving for France in the Indochina war, and the intellectual Abdelkader (Bouajila) is just out of prison. All three become involved in Algeria's resistance movement in different ways, as ruthless antiterrorist cop Faivre (Blancan) uses increasingly violent methods to find them.

The film opens with two prologues: in 1925 the family is thrown off its ancestral land to make room for French farmers, and peaceful marchers in 1945 Setif are gunned down by merciless French soldiers (their father is killed and Abdelkader is arrested). But rather than focus on French heavy-handedness, this is a movie about the fallout of colonialism, using the brothers' stories to shine new light on both post-European colonialism and America's proto-colonialism.

The early sections are especially riveting, as Bouchareb stages scenes with an attention to period detail and a strong narrative drive. The brothers may be a little too iconic as soldier, intellectual and gangster, but their interaction is unpredictable and fascinating, adding some spark to the rather over-serious story. Bouajila has the trickiest role as the too-obsessed Abdelkader, who struggles to balance his fiery sense of responsibility with his relationships.

If Bouchareb had included some offhanded real life to balance the Big Provocative Issues, the film might have sustained the tone to the end. As it is, things begin to drag in the final third as Faivre and the brothers engage in a series of increasingly nasty tit-for-tat attacks. But at least Bouchareb maintains a balance all the way through, as righteous passion infuses the violent actions of people on all sides of the situation. There aren't really any good or bad guys here, but everyone's operating rather a long way outside the law.



Outside the Law

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 138 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Distributed by: Independent Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: Cynthia Rothrock as Julie Cosgrove

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.