Free Men (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Free Men (2012)

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In German-occupied Paris, a young unemployed Algerian named Younes (played by break-out star, Tahar Rahim) earns his living as a black marketeer. Arrested by the French police but given a chance to avoid jail, Younes agrees to spy on the Paris Mosque. The police suspect the Mosque authorities, including its rector Ben Ghabrit, of aiding Muslim Resistance agents and helping North African Jews by giving them false certificates. At the Mosque, Younes meets the Algerian singer Salim Halali, and is moved by Salim's beautiful voice and strong personality. When Younes discovers that Salim is Jewish, he stops collaborating with the police and gradually transforms from a politically ignorant immigrant into a fully-fledged freedom fighter. -- (C) Film Movement

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Cast

Michael Lonsdale
as Si Kaddour Ben Ghabrit
Christopher Buccholz
as Major Von Ratibor
Christopher Buchholz
as Major Von Ratibor
Youssef Hajdi
as Résistant 2
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Critic Reviews for Free Men

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (10)

Ferroukhi fails to communicate much of the fear and paranoia of living in an occupied city.

Full Review… | May 22, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

A cannily shot thriller.

Full Review… | April 12, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The film benefits greatly from Rahim's subtle, effective performance; and it's inevitably heartening to see Jewish and Muslim Algerians identify themselves in national, not ethnic or religious, terms, while fighting a common enemy.

Full Review… | March 23, 2012
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Rahim has the eyes of the young Mandy Patinkin. If only he had some of the wildness.

Full Review… | March 22, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Free Men offers a pleasing historical escape via a story of everyone setting aside religious, colonial, and ethnic divides to unite against the Nazis.

Full Review… | March 16, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

"Free Men" is so-so, but it is driven by a mischievously interesting idea: that Muslims and Jews have more in common than they normally allow.

Full Review… | March 16, 2012
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Free Men

In occupied France, Younes(Tahar Rahim) works in the black market. During an immigration dragnet, he is arrested while his cousin Ali(Farid Larbi) escapes. Younes is given a choice, either cooperate with the authorities and spy for them or be deported. He chooses to stay and is assigned to infiltrate the mosque presided by Ben Ghabrit(Michael Lonsdale). It is there that Younes encounters Salim(Mahmoud Shalaby), a young singer, using a dabrouka as a calling card. "Free Men" has a few things going for it, like its unique angle on occupied France, just as nationalism for North Africa was starting to kick into gear with immigrants being pulled in two separate directions at once. But even with a milieu as neat as this one, you need a decent story which is missing here. Plus, the lead character is more than a little lacking.(Whether this is because Younes is only a composite character and Salim and Ben Ghabrit were real people is up for debate.) But then somebody should have told Michael Lonsdale, possibly miscast as he is, that this wasn't his movie, as he steals it simply through the careful application of quiet dignity.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Really well done, and an interesting look at Paris under the Nazi heel, especially as the terror strikes Parisian Jews. I found the Islamic music trying, others may not, but the film is a low-key A list French production. Great actors. Great retelling of history.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

½

Though the director Ismael Ferroukhi somehow fails to grasp the entire atmosphere of Paris during WW2, he succeeds in one thing, which is showing the unexplored story of the participation of Paris Mosque in helping out the French Resistance (and even some Jews and Communists too). That aspect alone makes this movie a worthy watch for history buffs.

Thomas Andrikus
Thomas Andrikus

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