DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Outside the Law, Blu-ray (2010/11)

A dramatised story of the Algerian fight for independence from France

Published on August 15, 2011

Outside the Law, Blu-ray (2010/11)

Outside the Law, Blu-ray (2010/11)

Director: Richid Bouchareb
Cast: Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem
Studio: Studio Canal/Palisades Tartan  PTT-BD-0060 [8/2/11}
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS 2.0, French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, French
Extras: Making of… featurette, Deleted Scenes, Original teaser trailer, Theatrical trailer, Interview with Director, Upcoming release trailers, Cast interview with Laurent Weil
Length: 139 minutes
Rating: ****

This suspenseful epic was the first Algerian/French co-production.  It is the story of the fight for independence which the Algerians made in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s and finally resulted in Independence for Algeria in 1962. You might want to view the Making Of… bonus feature first or even the entire documentary The Battle of Algiers.

Three brothers are kicked out, along with their parents, of their family farm in Algeria. The scene changes to the 1945 massacre of parading Algerians in Satif. One brother joins the French army struggling in Indochina, one (Abdelkader) becomes the leader of the FLN – the Algerian independence movement. The third, Said, moves to Paris to make his fortune in a shady nite club and boxing center. Their various destinies finally reunite them in Paris in a battle for independence and freedom from the terrible repression the French government has been inflicting on them.

The background for the decisions of two of the brothers to work for the FLN is clearly shown.  Also the connections between service in Indochina and current positions with the police or the opposing FLN.  The Algerian young men pursue freedom at all costs.

This foreign language film was an Academy Award Nominee, and dramatically explores much of the Algerian conflict in a gripping piece of entertainment. The transfer to Blu-ray looks excellent, though there is isn’t much use of the 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

 - John Sunier




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