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

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

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.