The word is a powerful tool that offers precise communication, as well as removal. But cinema is not about the word, it's about the scene. Matthias Glasner's The Free Will removes many of the words, and most of the padding that allows viewers a cushioned safety zone, leaving us to see, experience, and feel the pain and drama on screen in a way that forces us not to fall for cinematic tricks and clever writing.
The Free Will is the story of a rapist, Theo (Jürgen Vogel). However, instead of merely discussing his crimes and moving on, or revealing a carefully edited flashback, we're served the full, brutal force of his crimes. Much of the first half hour is a detailed account of one of his rapes -- no voiceovers, no chance for removal -- just the cries of his victim as he grabs her, savagely beats her, and sexually assaults her. It's a horrific scene to watch, and something that should definitely be missed by those with their own personal assault triggers, but this scene does serve a purpose. It makes rape real -- more than a word, and something you cannot ignore, no matter where the film takes you. It's not a removed crime like Kevin Bacon's portrayal of pedophilia in The Woodsman, where it's easier to sympathize with his character since the crimes are off-screen. We see Theo's crime, feel it, and know that what comes isn't just a simple love story.
Yes, this is the story of a man who is sent away for rape, and once he's released after almost ten years, tries to find love and live a normal life.