Let me tell you about a movie that outraged, angered, and sickened me -- and why it demands your attention.

The Free Will begins, basically, with a long, hideously-detailed and violent rape scene. Theo (Jürgen Vogel, who also produced and co-wrote) is convicted of his crime; the bulk of the film deals with his post-prison life, his struggles with rehabilitation, and his relationship with Nettie (Sabine Timoteo), seemingly a victim in waiting. I have strong reservations about The Free Will: it's filled with ugly, offensive actions, and I felt like I was dragged through the mire for 163 minutes for little reason other than to shove my face in the muck. Still, there is no denying the power of the performances or the talent of director Matthias Glasner. It is a provocative piece that inspires deep thinking about important issues.

Michael Guillén wrote a long and thoughtful review at The Evening Class -- my comments above are adapted from my response to his review -- which may help you decide whether to rent or buy The Free Will, which is out on DVD today. Benten Films has quickly developed a very fine reputation for their releases, so expect a good-quality transfer. Their edition includes an audio commentary by Glasner and Vogel, the original theatrical trailer, and a new critical essay by Time Out's David Fear.
categories Features, DVDs, Cinematical