Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Far From Men (2014) Tribeca 2015

David Oelhoffen's FAR FROM MEN is a great film. What at first seemed like a dull and mannered art film turned into a thoughtful adventure film as two men are forced to travel across Algeria  during war time.

Based on a Albert Camus story called The Guest, the film focuses on Viggo Mortensen's school teacher. Living alone in an isolated school house he is teaching the children of the locals how to read and about the world. One day one of the local constables brings him a prisoner, The constable tells Mortensen that he has to take the man to a nearby village for trial. It seems the man has killed his cousin., Mortensen wants no part of it, however once men from the man's village come to kill him and some neighbor come to lynch him for a crime he didn't commit, Mortensen takes his charge and heads off into to the countryside. Pursued  by various factions the men are forced to take an alternate route. Over the course of the trip the men begin to bond and we begin to see what is going on in their hearts and within their country.

For me once once Mortensen and his charge, played by Reda Kateb met, the film fell together for me, It was at this point the film stopped being about manners and instead became about people. Here we have two great actors playing two finely crafted characters. Over the course of the film we watch as their lives and their beings are laid out and we come to understand why and how each man got to where they were and how they make the choices they do. Their is much honor in both men.

What I love about the film is that not only a grand adventure, the simple act of traveling across country becomes epic in the film, but we also are treated to a well thought out exploration of the life of Algeria and of the life of men. There is so much going on here that I need a second or third viewing to adequately understand and be able to discuss all of the themes that pop up. DOn't let that frighten you. There is enough tension and action to keep you watching should you not like heady thoughts.

And should be wavering as to whether to see this on the big screen or not, do so. This film's photography is expansive and it puts you into the landscape which plays a big part in the story.

This is one of my favorites at this years Tribeca and a must see.

1 comment:

  1. Just a masterful film - one of the very best in the festival!

    Great work here Steve!