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4.5 out of 5 stars
Free Fall [DVD]
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 January 2014
Apparently it's been branded the German Brokeback Mountain for its obvious similarities, but I enjoyed this a lot more. I always thought BM was a film about homosexual men made for a heterosexual audience. I don't believe that's the case here.

It tells the rather tried and tested story of a man (Marc) realising he has feelings for another man (Kay) at a time in his life that is ironically inopportune.

However, it's disarming and affectionate nature allows that it pulls off the whole "straight-guy-who-belatedly-realises-he's-not" with a fresh feel, assured script, and (always a winner) damn good acting.
It's entirely natural and therefore believable; you'll find no contrivance here, no clumsiness.
Indeed, a factor that sets this apart from similar films I've seen is the confident way it displays affection. Once you get past the initial and (a tad unnecessarily) awkward encounters there is a wonderful intimacy conveyed between the pair that isn't obscured by excessive shadow or so brief it would be missed in a blink. This lingering is wonderful and I hope emulation will follow!

I would have enjoyed a few more conversations between Marc & Kay in order to voice the progress of their relationship, particularly Marc's. There's only really the one in-depth discussion and it is so well done - full of subtleties, frustration and affection - that it made me feel the loss of similar scenes all the more.

This is an accomplished, confident film that is sure to please the most discerning viewer. It explores the ultimate perils of suppression and the fools it will not suffer, as well as the prejudices people harbour and the damage they can do.
The ending is a tad ambiguous but thankfully not as tragic as the film leads you to believe. However, it is likely the most realistic there could have been, and leaves a wealth of possible outcomes to ponder.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Released in Germany as `Freir Fall' this has been compared to `Brokeback Mountain', but apart from it being about a man who is gay in a heterosexual relationship, I can't really see any other similarities. We meet Marc who is a cop and he has a pregnant girlfriend and what appears to be a life plan. Then at the academy he meets Kay who is more free whelin' than him and after getting off on the wrong foot they slowly hit it off.

Now despite the police or polizei being all inclusive these days there is still a vast undercurrent of homophobia and this is shown and there is some violence. Soon Marc realises what he wants and moreover who he wants but societal pressures and the arrival of his new baby son are all contributing to make him want to hurt the one he really loves.

This is a rather good film the two male leads are always guaranteed to put in a solid performance. Marc is played by Hanno Kofler - `Krabat' and the excellent `Summer Storm'. Kay is played by Max Riemelt - `Napola' and `The Fourth State'. The sub titles are good to ok as they are not always a literal translation which I know some prefer but I like it told straight. This is a film that will not tick all the boxes, the ending especially may fail to deliver for some viewers; there is a limited amount of scenes of a sexual nature but nothing to frighten the horses of even a randy pony to be honest. However, this is still a very strong film with some excellent performances indeed - recommended to fans of gay themed cinema.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 29 January 2014
Gay films can be a bit hit or miss but this is the latest in a run of outstanding releases over the last few months, including Monster Pies, Let My People Go!, and Les Invisibles. It's one of those films you look forward to seeing as much the second time as the first, leaving you with a sense of emotion you want to re-enter. The tone is fairly serious, although the relationship between the two police cadets does have an element of ribbing. The plot outline sounds like an identikit drama but it is much more engrossing than this would imply. Hanno Koffler (Marc) is a familiar face from the excellent comedy Summer Storm, where he played a super-confident gay rower; here he is much less sure of himself, as an all but married man, about to be a father, but suddenly taken over by gay desires for a fellow recruit. The latter, called Kay, turns out to be something of a free thinker and rebel, despite his chosen profession, initiating Marc into smoking spliffs. One of these, blown from the mouth of one to the other, leads to the first lip-to-lip contact: a thrilling moment which initially makes Marc jump back when he senses what is really happening. But his instincts soon take over when Kay presses his attentions further in a couple of fairly breathtaking sequences, it has to be said. Some of the scenes do get a real intensity between the actors, which are often fairly short. There is an electric charge that Koffler (in particular) and Max Riemelt are well able to convey, while Katharina Schuttler does well with a less rewarding role as the girlfriend, Bettina. Only Marc really comes across in three dimensions, though (actual 3D could have enhanced it in certain ways - see below!).

Parallels with Brokeback Mountain are there - Bettina even looks a little like Anne Hathaway - but as another reviewer has said this film feels "gayer". Where the visuals tended to the pictorial in Ang Lee's film, here the look is much darker with stark contrast between light and shade, and more up-close; the interiors themselves are a little bland. The camera is not very focused on the setting, you feel, but rather on creating mood and emotion, as it prowls after Marc and looms over his shoulder as if it might lick his ear, and you notice his solidity and the marvellous boyish shape of his head. The intimacy between the men is more explicit and joyous, and there is more nudity. In BM you felt Ang Lee was worried he might put off the straight audience, but you don't get the feeling the director Stephan Lacant is unduly concerned with that. In fact Lee's film, with hindsight, seems a little dull in its plodding through the respective family sagas, in a way that this one largely avoids through its sexual exuberance. Koffler does manage to get a lot of intensity and confusion into the role, and I only regret one of the scenes showing his beautiful rear end as he pulls on his pale blue underwear in the showers at the gym got deleted. (A scene with him pushing a lawnmower almost makes up for this, shot from this height.) Fortunately this Peccadillo release allows you to view it - and a number of other out-takes - as an extra.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2014
I really enjoyed this film.
Certainly, there are parallels with Brokeback Mountain. With BM, the feelings between the two guys were tempered by the era in which the story is set, and each went on to have a family not out of denial of who they were but because to do otherwise simply wasn't an option.
With Free Fall, it's a modern day setting. Two police cadets room together, go running, and what begins as casual friendship gradually evolves into latent attraction. Kay makes the first move, and it takes Marc awhile to come around; to accept his feelings for Kay, to accept within himself that he is attracted to another man, and also recognising that to act on his new found desire would mean betraying his wife and the mother of his unborn son. In the end Marc can't contain his need to be with Kay, and the two men embark on an affair - kept secret due to circumstances, not expectations of society. But pressures of work, family, and social standing gradually take their toll on both of Marc's relationships...
The film is well acted and believable. I empathised with the three lead characters (Bettina being the 3rd), though I still felt Kay was a little hard done by despite his arrival into Marc's settled, family life effectively turning it upside down.
The sex scenes are infrequent and tasteful: loving and passionate, not crude and seedy, but that's all they need to be to work within the narrative, so the 15 certificate is perfectly fine.
My one small criticism is the somewhat unrealistic scene by the car in the rain.. Ennis at least used a bit of spit in his scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
Unlike Hollywood it would appear that European gay films have no problems with making films that are not 'tidy' and are not confined to the concerns of a select few streets in New York. This particular film addresses a lot of issues which must affect some men who realise just that bit too late, or at an inconvenient time, that they have feelings for other men - or in this case just one man. All the parts are really well acted and no one lets the film down. The other policemen and particularly the girlfriend give very realistic performances. The reactions of the parents are interesting. In Hollywood the parents tend to come round or accept very rapidly their son's situation. In this film they don't want it. They just want him to get married, settle down next door and just live like them. 'We didn't raise you to be like this' was one sentence his mother said when she saw them kiss in the hospital. The look on her face when she gets into the lift is priceless!

You do feel sorry for the girlfriend though. She has just given birth and then she has to deal with her partner's infidelity. "I can't even get jealous!" I would have thought that German police would be the least homophobic of all forces in Europe but this film shows that it is just as alive there as anywhere and they are certainly not wanted in the dressing rooms.

The main character Marc does a very good job of battling his desires. It is the slow development of going from recoiling at another man's touch to the reluctant acceptance of his overwhelming desires for the other man - even to the ending of his relationship with the mother of his son. The film does not tie up everything nicely. We are left with a lot of loose ends but I suppose that is what happens in a lot of these situations. The child isn't just going to disappear and Marc's destiny is also left in the air. It is not certain where he will end up.

Overall an engaging film which does justice to the theme. Do watch the deleted scenes on the 'Extras' as they add to the film. I don't know why they weren't added as they aren't too long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2014
Its been awhile since a film has appealed to me on so many levels, and ended up affecting me in so many ways. Whilst the story is not new, its execution is done with such tenderness and sincerity it is difficult to see the film as a mere story.

The tenderness in particular, that is displayed between the two leads (Max Riemelt and Hanno Koffler) is for me a profound testament to the depth of this story, and is a powerful indication of how two actors can successfully portray the depth of emotion required for the deep tragedy that results. Many have referred to this as the German "Brokeback Mountain", which I feel is both unfair and inaccurate. "Free Fall" is its own story, and whilst there may be similarities to Brokeback in its premise, it differs on so many important and unique levels.

Max Reielt (playing Kay Engel) will be known to GLBT fans having acted in "Before the Fall". he was good in that film (As well as "The Wave"), but he excels in "Free Fall". His character seems distinctly confident and removed, without any need for drama or verbal expression, and this quietness stands in start contrast to Hanno Koffler's ("Summer Storm", "Krabat" and the "Red Baron") character Marc Borgmann. Hanno is passionate, expressive and repressed making for an engaging interaction between the two men. Yet between that passion and that aggression, are moments of profound intimacy that need little, if any explanation. Herein lies the true beauty of "Free Fall", in that the inner conflict and tumultuous unfolding of Marc, stands in stark contrast to his deep affection for Kay. Despite which, he finds himself forced to make a choice.

A superb film coming from two successful actors, beautifully portrayed and well written. A gem amongst a sea of half baked, poorly executed GLBT films. This is a film you must have, for you are guaranteed to watch it many times over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2014
Bought this as have seen both Hanno Koffler and Max Riemelt in other German films and enjoyed their performances.

This film is a stunning piece of cinema, it's heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I highly recommend it and I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2014
One of the best gay films iv seen in a long time.
Very powerful and realistic.
This is one film to add to your collection.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2014
A real touching film of confused feelings that dwell deep inside of our main character. Acting is very good and the mood of the film is deep and dark. Both guys play their parts excellent, and you are left undecided on which path they should choose. He has so much going for him, yet the uncontrollable feelings for the other guy are so much stronger at times, he is left frustrated and so confused. It is a great film that has you engrossed the whole way through. Hanno Kofler is great to watch, from Summer Storm, where his character is so eye catching, to this lead role, he is really growing from strength to strength. Watch it, well word the time
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2014
This is going into my "Favourite Films' folder. It was very true to life and I thought the idea of two policemen getting sexually involved and how they deal with it was great because policemen as a workgroup is not one that comes to mind when conveying gay issues. That being said, I thought the film did a great job in showing what a struggle it can be not just with the characters feelings but the prejudice as well. This is well worth a watch.
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