Far from Men
Directed by David Oelhoffen
A French teacher in a small Algerian village during the Algerian War forms an unexpected bond with a dissident who is ordered to be turned in to the authorities.
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★★★½ review by Nick Vass on Letterboxd
Viggo Mortensen gives one of his best performances as an ex-French Army soldier who gets caught in the crossfire of the Algerian War. Born in Algeria but Spanish by lineage, he plays a man out of time and place, perceived as alien by both locals and colonizers alike. So when he reluctantly decides to escort a dissident (Reda Kateb from A Prophet), to a regional police station, a series of incidents and revelations force the question of where his loyalties lie.
Easily features some of the most impressive widescreen vistas in ages (the Atlas Mountains are captured splendidly) accompanied by a superb, original score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Mortensen owns in all intense, gunslinging action sequences as well.
The film probably could've been a bit more expressive on the inner-lives of both men (part of it does feel like a walk amongst the desert), but by the end, I certainly cared about the understanding these two had created, where they'd go afterwards, and what was torn during this war. Gerry meets Unforgiven, I guess.
★★★★½ review by Sean Thompson on Letterboxd
This visual masterpiece, set upon the top of North Africa's Atlas Mountains, is one of the best films I have ever seen.
The story, based on Albert Camus short 'The Guest', is superbly written for screen by David Oelhoffen, who also directs. The acting, in particular by familiar face Viggo Mortensen, is immense. Stunning cinematography from Guillaume Deffontaines captures the vastness and majesty of the Atlas Ridge, and Oelhoffen's direction is that of a man who knows what his cast and crew are capable of, and trusts them to deliver it. Thankfully, everyone delivers in spades.
The moral questions raised by this film would be wasted were they to be repeated here. Suffice it to say that when man of honour Daru (Mortensen) is tasked with marching a seemingly harmless local farmer to his death in the nearby French settlement, he is forced to question his own views on the distinction between right and wrong. The story arc is wonderfully realised, and the film ends on a contemplative yet uplifting note. There is not a bad thing to be said about this work, it will undoubtedly become a classic.
If it's not too late for anyone who may read this, go see this film on a big screen. You won't regret it.
★★★★ review by Chedly Ouni on Letterboxd
Remember that Gus Van Sant movie where Two people walk through a desrted landscape for the entire thing? this is basicly the same, only way better and with outstanding performances from Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb (Le Gitan from Un Prophete) and better locations (The Atlas Mountains).
The plot is very thin as it's basicly Viggo taking Reda, who is convicted of killing his cousin, to a nearby town in order to surrender him to the french authority who are more than likely to execute him on the spot.
However this film makes up for its simple story with the exploration of thye relationship of the two central characters with the Algerian Revolution taking place in the background.
This is probably a career best performance from Viggo Mortensen who's french might seem a bit wierd but his Algerian Dialect is more than decent and despite not speaking his mother tongue he still delivers the lines with great confidence. Reda Kateb also does a great job portraying a man who is ready to sacrifice his life so that his family can survive.
The Cinematography is reminiscent of the old western days, showing some breathtaking tableaux of god's work, intense close ups on character's faces in some dramatic moments, also good lightning in the night scenes.
★★★★ review by Phiona Kari on Letterboxd
the multi-talented Viggo Mortensen ❤️❤️❤️
He exceeded my expectations. He accomplished conveying the story very well.
A film of great human feeling, strong and full message and still confirming Mortensen as one of the most charismatic and delivered to their current film projects interpreters.
Everytime I watch Viggo in a film, my heart grows three times its size.
★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
The Dissolve review. Sturdy neo-Western set at the start of the Algerian War. Stunning vistas, strong performances, solidly conventional.
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