Hors Satan (Outside Satan) (2013)



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Angel or devil, good or evil, Christ or Satan: These are the mystical questions revolving around the nameless figure living in the coastal dunes outside of a small French town. Named one of the top ten films of the year by Cahiers du Cinema and an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, Hors Satan is a provocative parable of identity, morality, and human relationships, defying notions of genre to become a mesmerizing and haunting original. -- (C) New Yorker Films -- (C) New Yorker Films
Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
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David Dewaele
as Le Gars
Sonia Barthelemy
as la mère de la gamine
Juliette Bacquet
as la gamine
Christophe Bon
as le garde
Dominique Caffier
as l'homme au chien
Aurore Broutin
as la routarde
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Critic Reviews for Hors Satan (Outside Satan)

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11)

I find the movie mind-blowing, though it will likely alienate as many viewers as it impresses.

Full Review… | August 2, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Inarticulate characters, long blank stares, forced camera angles and allegorical nonsense make up this pretentious study in quasi-religious ennui.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Maddening, pretentious, hypnotic and transcendent in roughly equal measure.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Top Critic

Despite its pictorial intensity and the extremity of some of its scenes, the film proceeds in a mood of detachment, turning the suffering physical beings under its scrutiny into abstractions.

January 17, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

Hors Satan is stark, strange and uncompromisingly personal. It's also vivid and unforgettable.

Full Review… | January 17, 2013
Top Critic

As its title suggests, Satan grapples with the existence and nature of evil in the world, but it's hard to take such weighty matters seriously when they're explored with all the subtlety and grace of an anti-abortion pamphlet.

Full Review… | January 17, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hors Satan (Outside Satan)

It is a film of minimal technique and the landscape, at least in the first 60 or so minutes of the film, becomes a dominant character that almost dwarfs the human drama that is played out across it. It is a film of intentional moral ambiguity. It has been noted in other reviews of this film that it could be read as an exploration of the duality of Good and Evil and their mutual dependance on one another. Those reviews also correctly point out that this film alludes to common Christian motifs, albeit one maybe informed by an extremely austere Catholicism possibly held by its characters. However, all have to seem to failed to recognize the other allegories to old held beliefs about witchcraft that, in part, derived from abandoned pre-Christian religions. Those religions had a pantheon of divinities that operated with more human motivations and lusts, but, more importantly, where sometimes more intimately communicant with nature and the environments their believers lived within. So, again, with the dominant role the landscape commands throughout the film, it does make one wonder if it was a possible aim as well.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith

An enigmatic young man (Dewaele), living in the marshes on the outskirts of a small town, appears to have healing powers. He is befriended by a young goth (Lematre), whose abusive father he shoots dead. As the film progresses, some fall victim to his murderous rampage while others are healed of their ills. Last year Dumont left his comfort zone with 'Hadewijch' a Paris set tale of religious fanaticism. It was his most mainstream work yet, following what was basically a straight narrative. His latest sees him return to his usual milieu of unattractive faces set against the grim backdrop of Northern France. It's self-indulgent garbage, consisting mainly of our protagonists walking across wind-swept fields. As is the norm for modern French cinema, it's filled with violence, though not as graphic as the work of most of Dumont's contemporaries. The movie is not only grim to look at, but rough on the ears too, thanks to Dumont's insistence on naturally recorded sound. Bizarrely, 'Hors Satan' shares a silly sight gag (a character pulled back comically by a wire after being shot) with 'Django Unchained'. It seems Tarantino saw this at Cannes last year.

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