Outside the Law is a historical crime family drama strongly reminiscent in tone and visuals to The Godfather and the "young Vito" passages of Godfather II, as well as the guerrilla activism of "Michael Colins" . The film starts with the eviction of a farming family from their land in Algeria in the 20s. The titles roll over newsreel reports of the Victory in Europe celebrations in Paris on May 8, 1945 then cuts to the French security forces' massacre at Sétif of around 6,000 Algerians on the same day. The film pulls no punches in its portrayal of French injustice and brutality, or the ruthlessness - and cruelty - of the Algerian nationalists.
The acting (Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila, all familiar from the same director's film Days of Glory), pace of action, storytelling and period atmosphere all make this tremendous film one that only those allergic to subtitles will not enjoy.