Free Radicals (2004)
The seemingly random interactions between a group of people touched by a tragedy go under the microscope in this drama from Austrian filmmaker Barbara Albert. Manu (Kathrin Resetarits) is a woman who miraculously survives an airline crash caused by a freak storm that claims the life of every other passenger on board. Six years later, she's happily married to Andreas (Georg Friedrich), has a teenaged daughter named Yvonne (Deborah Ten Brink), and works at a supermarket -- only to die suddenly in an auto accident. Among the mourners at Manu's funeral are her brother Reini (Martin Brambach) and sister Gerlinde (Marion Mitterhammer). Schoolteacher Reini is infatuated with a troubled woman named Sandra (Bellinda Akwa-Asare), and is trying to reach out to one of his students, Kai (Dominik Hartel), who is haunted by the death of his mother. Andreas becomes involved with another teacher, Andrea (Ursula Strauss), who also has an unhappy student, Patricia (Désirée Ourada), an outcast with an interest in spirituality. Patricia strikes up a friendship with Kai as he drifts away from his girlfriend, Gabi (Nicole Skala). Meanwhile, Yvonne becomes ill and ponders her mother's fate in the hereafter, and Gerlinde becomes involved in an emotionally destructive sexual relationship with a handicapped man. … More
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Critic Reviews for Free Radicals
I have seen Barbara Albert's Free Radicals three times now and could surely watch it 10 times more, finding something else on each visit to salve the soul.
Brims with energy, carefully drawn characters and fine acting, and sad-eyed Deborah Ten Brink, as Manu's daughter, is a scene-stealer.
Deftly intercutting between several tenuously-connected lives, Barbara Albert's astringent drama is transformed by bright flashes of compassion.
An intelligent, viscerally intellectual exercise in ensemble acting and associative montage, enlivened with some terrific visual and dramatic ideas.
The parallel stories don't always dovetail with each other smoothly, but the acting is strong and the atmosphere is powerful.
Albert leaves viewers with the intriguing notion that we're as much at the mercy of measurable physical forces as we are of the irrational.
Aside from a few brief glimmers of hope or happiness, director Barbara Albert piles her compilation of abject misery a bit too high.
The actors showed up, the camera was on, but the script wasn't up to the task.
Free Radicals portrays the subtle and fragile strands that link our lives to those of others in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.
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