Only love can truly set us free.
Uneven but engaging, indie drama The Free World stars Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss as two lost souls given a chance of redemption after being thrown together by fate. He’s a haunted ex-con and Muslim convert, now working in an animal shelter (Octavia Spencer plays his sympathetic boss). And she’s the fugitive abused wife to whom he gives refuge.
First-time writer-director Jason Lew is heavy handed with his use of symbolism (a hunted stray if ever there was, Moss even hides in a dog carrier in one scene) and a tad clumsy with his plotting (so many characters refer to Holbrook’s violent past you know it’s only a matter of time before this peaceful bruiser explodes again). But the two stars somehow make their overwrought characters work – and earn our sympathy to boot.
Certificate 15. Runtime 98m mins. Director Jason Lew
The Free World available on DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.