7.5/10
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The Free Will (2006)

Der freie Wille (original title)
Unrated | | Crime, Drama | 24 August 2006 (Germany)
A man is released from a mental institution after serving 9 years for multiple rape.

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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Theo Stoer
Sabine Timoteo ...
Netti Engelbrecht
André Hennicke ...
...
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:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 August 2006 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

A szabad akarat  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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

 
Mature subject matter, but flawed in its execution
8 March 2006 | by (Gloucestershire, England) – See all my reviews

I, too, saw this film at the Berlinale, and though the matter of rape was treated with maturity and frankness, the film itself was constructed poorly. More than anything, it was bland - camera placement and cuts were standard fare, non-diagetic sound was near non-existent, and the dialogue was highly unrealistic, comprising of long, drawn-out pauses interspersed with briefly-spoken lines.

The upshot of this was that I felt no attachment to the characters beyond a basic sympathy for their current predicaments - dialogue was stretched out to the point of losing its emotional resonance, and many lines were delivered with little feeling from the actors. I was particularly unconvinced by Sabine Timoteo's performance, whose talent restricted her to screaming rather than actual crying. Compared to Claire Dane's stunning depiction of anguish in Romeo and Juliet, I felt wholly unsatisfied by her performance.

It was these factors that made the characters feel less than human, failing to imbue them with life. This, coupled with the utterly bland direction and editing, meant that I felt no attachment to them, and I was left gagging for each coming line of dialogue purely to provide a break from the silent, expressionless moments in between. Drawing out the narrative to over two and a half hours simply rubbed salt in the wound.

The Free Will was not in itself awful, but there were so few points of interest that I found myself becoming restless within forty minutes, and when the credits rolled in what will doubtless be considered a brilliantly emotional finale, I still felt little attachment to the characters.


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