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

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



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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; Saïd 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
R (for violence)
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Sami Bouajila
as Abdelkader
Roschdy Zem
as Messaoud
Bernard Blancan
as Col. Faivre
Larbi Zekkal
as Le Caïd
Chafia Boudraa
as La Mère
Mourad Khen
as Sanjak
Ahmed Benaïssa
as Le Père
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Critic Reviews for Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (15)

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

Full Review… | May 3, 2011
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 31, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 25, 2011
Toronto Star
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 2, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 17, 2011
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 10, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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


Outside the Law is a fantastic Algerian production about a family divided during the French occupation of Algeria. The acting is top notch and other then a long runtime Outside the Law is a flick that needs to be seen by fans of the foreign film.

Jonathan Porras
Jonathan Porras

"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?

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


"The Three of us fear no one, we'll lay down the law" Synopsis: Left without a home in their native land, three Algerian brothers split from their mother and seek out strikingly dissimilar lives. Foreign film studios must be a fervor around oscar time, as unlike the United States where all films released during a certain year are eligible for awards, they must choose a single film to represent their country for oscar consideration. Meaning, out of possibly dozens of great films deserving of an international audience, each country must pick one picture they feel has the best shot of at least getting nominated for the prestigious Best Foreign Language oscar. Though considering the politics behind choosing artistic works of any kind for awards, it's unlikely Outside The Law is the best film released in France. The picture isn't terribly original. Though Outside The Law is a historical biopic of the struggle of Algeria to gain independence from France, most of us will simply remember it as a gangster picture. A gangster picture remarkably similar to The Godfather series in theme, aesthetics, and style. On one hand such facts are exciting, who wouldn't want to watch a quality Godfather influenced gangster picture, on the other hand the picture doesn't really seem to adequately relate the troubles of Algeria's struggle for freedom, it just seems like a gangster picture. The picture being presented as a gangster film does make it easy to sink ones teeth into though, and the well developed script and finely handled action sequences make this picture a wonderfully entertaining foreign entry. Though it only hints at the real drama associated with a nationwide fight for freedom and leans on the great Godfather films a bit too much, Outside The Law is nevertheless a highly entertaining gangster pi................I mean historical biopic.

aaron aaron
aaron aaron

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