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The Free Will (2006)
"Der freie Wille" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  24 August 2006 (Germany)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,302 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 30 critic

A man is released from a mental institution after serving 9 years for multiple rape.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Theo Stoer
Sabine Timoteo ...
Netti Engelbrecht
André Hennicke ...
Sascha
Manfred Zapatka ...
Netti's father Claus Engelbrecht
Judith Engel ...
Anja Schattschneider
Anna Brass ...
Raped woman in the dunes
Anne-Kathrin Golinsky ...
Seller in department store
Maya Bothe ...
Sybille
Frank Wickermann ...
Michael
Anna De Carlo ...
Waitress
Bernadette Büllmann ...
Singer of "Ave Maria"
Andreas Laurenz Maier ...
Marius (as Andreas L. Maier)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Toni
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Storyline

After nine years in psychiatric detention Theo, who has brutally assaulted and raped three women, is released. Living in a supervised community, he connects well with his social worker Sascha, finds a job at a print shop and even a girlfriend, Nettie, his principal's brittle and estranged daughter. But even though superficially everything seems to work out Theo's seething rage remains ready to erupt. Written by Armin Ortmann {armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

24 August 2006 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

A szabad akarat  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

(at around 1h 08 mins) When Theo brings Sascha to the train station, the approaching train on the track is an Intercity Express (ICE). In the next shot, the train that is actually stopping at the platform is NOT an ICE, but an Intercity (IC) train, which can be identified by different windows and the gray rooftop. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good Portrayal, Few Explanations
14 January 2007 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I saw this at the German Film Festival in San Francisco, and having been to a few of these before, I was prepared for a depressing experience. What's with these Germans? Anyway . . . this is a brutal, thorough, carefully crafted portrayal of the tortured life of what Americans call with politically correct blandness a "sex offender." Our protagonist, Theo, is raping his third victim when we meet him. He is a smoldering, violent thug. We next encounter him, 9 years later, as he is released from a mental hospital into a supervised residential setting. He is a broken man. He is riding a beast he hates, and he has no idea when the beast will bite again.

As a portrayal of psychology, angst, subtlety of emotion, and real human relations, I would give this film a 10. The sparring session between Theo, and his budding girlfriend Nettie, is a brilliant display of the subtle forces which are torturing the both of them. The fact that these two people have the sparsest dialog in the history of cinema may not be realistically correct, but it is an excellent artistic way of turning the focus to their inner emotions. This film is art, after all -- not a documentary.

The only reason I didn't go for 10 stars is that I had a persistent feeling that something was missing. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I would have liked some back story about Theo's youth, something that would make him a whole person. The film does work without that, but it is a lack that a writer and director of such brilliance could somehow have remedied.

This is not a feel good, date movie.


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