Director: Stephan Lacant
Writer: Stephan Lacant, Karsten Dahlem
Cast: Hanno Koffler, Max Riemelt, Katharina Schüttler, Oliver Bröcker, Shenja Lacher
Part of: identities Festival
Marc (Hanno Koffler) is a police man, happily married with Bettina (Katharina Schüttler) and they are expecting their first child. But then Marc meets Kay (Max Riemelt) during a training and a little while later, Kay gets transferred to Marc’s station. Even though Marc turned down Kay’s first advances, he is drawn to him and so the two of them start an affair after all.
Freier Fall tackels about 20 different issues at once – from (undiscovered) homosexuality to bullying in the police force – and somehow it manages to juggle them all and still tell an engaging story that isn’t weighed down by its social agenda. Instead it treats that agenda as practically unimportant which just makes it stand out all the more.
I’m usually hyper-critical when it comes to German films, or more specifically: acting in German-language films (probably because it’s my native language and that just makes me more sensitive to bad acting). And this film is not free of extremely awkward acting in minor roles. But the awkwardness is confined to the minor roles and the big ones are all pretty well cast. Especially Hanno Koffler was fantastic. And Max Riemelt wasn’t bad at all, either. (And they make one seriously attractive pair, so there’s that, too.)
But it wasn’t only the acting that worked so very well in this film. Lacant’s direction is amazingly self-assured and you wouldn’t once assume that it’s his first feature film (but it is). There’s an incredible tension to it all, that had me at the edge of my seat, just waiting for things to explode. Or implode. Get fucked up and tragic in any case.
And his script is really fantastic. The story, as I said, has a clear political agenda, but it’s told on such an intimate, private level that you barely notice all the social criticism flying around. The situation Lacant builds his suffocating, and you’re gasping for air just as much as Marc. But even more importantly, it features wonderful, relatable characters. Both Marc and Kay were great, but also Bettina was excellently written. You wanted to see none of them hurt, even though it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen.
It is rare that a film this serious is also engaging and manages to create a connection on an emotional level, too. But Freier Fall did it.
Summarising: hell yes. If every German movie was like this, I’d watch more of them.