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Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) (2010)



Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 638


My Rating

Movie Info

After losing their family home in Algeria, three brothers are scattered across the globe. Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement; Sad moves to Paris to make his fortune in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. Gradually, their interconnecting destinies reunite them in the French capital, where freedom is a battle to be fought and won.-- (C) Official Site

Aug 2, 2011

Independent Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (10) | DVD (3)

It's a big, bold film defined by a reserved passion, a stately style and strong performances from its three leads.

May 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a ham-handed "issue" movie that preaches to the converted, but the mid-century threads look cool and those Coppola moments remain effective all these years later.

March 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Think The Godfather II as told through France vs. Algeria tensions, and you have the essence of Rachid Bouchareb's vivid combo crime saga, action movie and historical drama.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Outside the Law" is an epic film about Algeria's fight for liberation from France, with three outstanding performances and a grand, sweeping feel.

March 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gripping French-Algerian coproduction that makes Algeria's epic struggle for independence from France look like a gangster movie.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is impressively made but finally feels rote and, at 138 minutes, outstays its welcome.

February 10, 2011 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ultimately, the common criminal has as much in common with the career soldier and the idealistic revolutionary . . . .

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Outside The Law is a fairly run of the mill slice of historical action/crime-drama, but ironically one that has just enough story to sustain your attention, but all too little historical fact to truly deserve your it to begin with.

May 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Part Western, part Godfather and with topical reflections of French colonialism meeting contemporary struggles for freedom in north Africa head-on, this is a thought-provoking film despite its over-ambitious nature.

May 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Bouchareb makes subtle points here about the damaging legacy of colonial rule.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Exciting but one-sided, Bouchareb's film is a Melville-lite study of honour among dangerous men.

May 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A little on the long side, it nonetheless keeps us involved in the deadly cat-and-mouse games between the Algerian freedom fighters and increasingly desperate police, and the performances from the reliable trio of lead actors are excellent.

May 9, 2011 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Bouchareb is not, as Pontecorvo was, a political film-maker. He's a humanist with a strong feeling for personal tragedies and people caught up in the tides of history.

May 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

There is no doubt where Bouchareb's sympathies lie but his attempt to marry a political lesson with the structures of an action movie doesn't always work. Current events give his argument renewed force, however.

May 6, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

It's overlong and a little over-indulgent, but given current events in north Africa, there's an unanticipated resonance to it.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian

A self-consciously epic historical drama about the road to Algerian independence from France in 1962.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It's handsome, confident large-scale cinema, with a fascinating historical heart. Take no prisoners stuff.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

A tiring, didactic manipulation of history.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Though the period feel and detail are excellent, the fascinating historical complexities become somewhat lost in a sentimental tale of bloody ties and brotherly duty.

May 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

That every political issue is covered from race to poverty to French oppression only makes the dish, like a pizza with an overcrowded topping, harder to keep piping hot.

May 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Controversial and contended it may be in France, but whatever your stance this is another thrilling and thoughtful slice of history from the Days Of Glory director.

May 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Bouchareb sketches this with clarity and skill, building toward a bloodstained ending that is technically happy (Algerian independence!) but feels deeply sad.

April 1, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Sometimes a bit too episodic and stuffed with history to register emotionally but the three central performances carry the piece overall.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source:

You need have no political or historical investment in the movie whatsoever to find it completely fascinating.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)

"Outside the Law" starts on May 8,1945 as France celebrates its victory in World War II by brutally repressing a peaceful independence march in Algeria. This interrupts the boxing match promoted by Said(Jamel Debbouze) while his brother Abdelkader(Sami Bouajila) somehow barely escapes with his life with an Algerian flag before being arrested and sent to prison in France. Messaoud(Roschdy Zem), another brother, ends up in the French army where he gets to be lectured by the Vietnamese in a prison of war camp on the right way to overthrow his colonial masters. Their mother(Chafia Boudraa) is not so much interested in any of that, as she is in possible grandchildren.

In depicting the violent struggle for Algerian independence, "Outside the Law" is as subtle as an explosion. Its main problem is in never going deeper than the historical record in sounding like a doctrinaire debating society at times when instead it should have been more interested in developing the various characters, especially as how they might have been affected by the casual racism of the era. Admittedly, the movie does improve as it goes on, and there is a nice subplot involving Abdelkader. Otherwise, what you basically have here is an old fashioned gangster flick with the FLN vs. MNA vs. the French authorities. This could not have been the intent of the filmmakers, could it? I mean I know the Algerian independence movement was baptized in blood but nobody asked if there could have been a better way?
July 10, 2012
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Director Rachid Bouchareb follows up his 2006 Academy Award nominated "Days of Glory," with yet another masterwork of cinema. I think this is an even better film than "Days of Glory" aswell.
November 26, 2010
Kyle S

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Hors - la - loi (DE)
  • Outside the Law (Hors la loi) (CA)
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