›› Free Fall - Freier Fall ‹‹

a film by Stephan Lacant.

2013 | 97 mins | Germany.

the heart-rending story of one man's refusal to accept his sexual self.

Dave says:

Described by some as the German version of Brokeback Mountain, frankly, this film by co-writer and director Stephan Lacant lacks the sheer gut-wrenching heartache of the Ang Lee classic ... but then, perhaps that's a good thing.

Not that this is anything other than an emotional tale of woe, as we encounter star-crossed lovers Marc (Hanno Koffler) and Kay (Max Riemelt); cadets in training at an nearby police academy, only to end up doing some manly manoeuvres of their own. Yet Marc has a secret that he's keeping close to his chest, one that Kay is set to discover when having purposely had himself transferred to Marc's unit, is soon to discover that the love of Marc's life is officially his heavily pregnant girlfriend Bettina (Katharina Schüttler). Torn between his responsibilities to Bettina and his child-to-be, and that of his desire for Kay, Marc finds himself in a love triangle; a classic scenario of a man caught between two lovers, let alone here two sexualities. Only which will he choose?

Laced by no surprise with many a scene of emotional heartbreak, thankfully before such narrative anguish fills the screen, Lacant has gone out of his way to craft a series of remarkably honest moments between the two men, touching sequences that find Riemelt excel as the sexual catalyst of the piece, having brought to the surface feelings that Marc hitherto had either never experienced, or long suppressed. For it's here that Koffler digs deep into his acting reserves, epitomizing the inner self-loathing of a man desperately trying to come to terms with his sexuality, whilst equally trying to keep everyone he loves happy. It's a situation that's doomed to failure, with Schüttler vividly displaying the suspicions of a woman who knows that something just isn't right in their relationship.

Only and for all of the positives of this feature, something somewhere is missing. Not that this has anything to do with the vibrant work of its players. Rather and with a spoiler warning firmly in place, it's a casualty of the screenplay, given this is a drama devoid of the "fight for your man" spirit of similar productions, with Kay having seemingly accepted his fate, that of having fallen in love with a man who finds it impossible to accept that he has fallen in love with a man himself; Marc ever keen to proclaim that he's not gay, until he finds himself lost for words when confronted with the fact by Bettina.

Sure, the ugly face of sexual prejudice is ever present, bigoted attitudes that and in spite of official policy, find certain members of a police force in urgent need of diversity training themselves; a case of fiction reflecting real life itself. But that said, this is nonetheless a beautifully crafted work, with our two lovers frequently seen getting down to some passionate man-on-man lip-service, that is when not casting aside their clothes for the films' requisite shower scenes. Yet this is not an ogle-fest of succulent man-flesh; rather this is the heart-rending story of one man's refusal to accept his sexual self and the dire consequences it has on those he loves. Well-played throughout, if ultimately tragic goes without saying, even if Lacant does leave you with a ray of light come close-of-play.

›› available as part of the PECCADILLO PICTURES catalogue: 27th January, 2014 / UK.
›› revised: Thursday, 5th January, 2023.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

›› copyright © 2023 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com ‹‹
›› archive reference #2015019 - revised ‹‹
donations are the lifeblood of Gay Celluloid;
every drop helps keep it online - thank you :)