outside the law poster


I want to start of by mentioning that I have been going through the 83rd Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Film, and this review marks the end of this series, here is a list and links to my reviews:

In a Better World – WINNER

Biutiful – NOMINEE

Dogtooth – NOMINEE

Incendies – NOMINEE

Outside the Law – NOMINEE

Before I watched Outside the Law, i wasn’t aware that it was a sequel to Days of Glory, a film I have not seen, but I intend to. Although, I assume, there is a clear connection between the two films, I really felt as if Outside the Law was a stand alone film, so I don’t feel like I missed any of the story. Upon further research, it turns out that the films are stand alone indeed, but have the same DNA due to the subject matter, and the use of the same main actors. This is an epic story, filled with pain and violence.

outside the law still

This is the first Algerian film I watch, and I must say that I am impressed by director Rachid Bouchareb. This film feels more like a slick gangster film, or even a western, but set during 1945 and 1962, and focusing on the Algerian independence movement from France. It needs to be noted that this film received backlash regarding its portrayal of the Sétif massacre, but in the films defence, producer Mustapha Orif said of its director, that he ‘interviewed many witnessed and historians’. In fact Rachid researched the subject for nine months, and the script took 2 years to complete. I think that it’s fair to say that he has done his homework, and his effort is considerable.

outside the law still

outside the law still

Nobody likes to be reminded of their mistakes, and this is probably why France was not overly excited about this film, due to the fact that the French are depicted as villains. History is more than often, ugly, and it is difficult to portray history in films, without tarnishing the facts with dramatisation and flare. If anything, this is were this film fails. It attempts to portray events in an unbiased way, but I think that due to the fact that this is a cinematic portrayal of events, its very difficult for anyone, not to take sides. Films are usually structured so that there are clear lines between who is bad, and who is good, who is the villain, and who are the victims. So, the film does raise awareness to the history behind it, but it does not documentaries it. Admittedly it encouraged me to look deeper into the subject, and I hope that my fellow Film Munchers would be inclined to do the same.

outside the law still

outside the law still

This is a great story, worth telling, and the performances of all the cast are great, coupled with a great score, and neat cinematography, this film is a treat.

TRIVIA COOKIE: Director Rachid Bouchareb has expressed interest in making a third film that would be a thematic continuation of Days of Glory and Outside the Law, focusing on ’50 years of immigration’, having the film set about 5 years after the events of Outside the Law. I have to get around to watching the first one, yet!