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Far from Men

Far from Men (2015)

January. 14,2015
| Drama War

A French teacher in a small Algerian village during the Algerian War forms an unexpected bond with a dissident who is ordered to be turned in to the authorities.


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There are those who fight and even kill for something as little as wounded pride. As ridiculous as this may seem, there are many situations and places where revenge the only option. Revenge is not just expected, it is demanded or even mandated. It takes an extremely strong and courageous person to break the cycle of violence."Far From Men" takes viewers into the misty Atlas Mountains of Algeria in 1954 and the lives of two men who are trying to break the revenge cycle. It is the beginning of an uprising against the French. Daru, a local school teacher as well as a World War II veteran, is tasked with transporting a prisoner, Mohamed, to a nearby town for trial. Daru chides Mohamed for weakness and cowardice in not attempting to escape or doing much to resist those who hound him. "React!" screams Daru, "aren't you a man?!" Yet things are not so simple. As the two men travel in the moonlight, rainfall and cold of the night, Daru gradually understands the difficult and challenging choices that Mohamed faces. Daru may be able to help Mohamed, yet at what price?Viggo Mortensen plays Daru and represents him extremely well. I really enjoy the roles that Viggo plays. Usually, as here, Viggo's characters struggle for justice, truth and dignity against formidable odds. All the actors do a fine job in this film. The film images, organization, dialogue, depth, directing, themes and storyline, are also very well done. Really the only things lacking are a fabulous soundtrack, a certain amount of depth to each nuance of the film and, perhaps, a love interest. Far From Men became available on Netflix this week.


Far from Men is relevant to today's political and social situation. Set in a country torn apart by original inhabitants rebelling against invading forces -- and caught in the middle, the ordinary people trying to get on with their lives. Sound familiar? My friend and I could not speak when the film ended, it made such an impact on us. The performances by Kateb and Mortensen are so believable that the audience is swept up into their world rather than watching them act. Set in the stark desert of Algiers, the characters'futile scramble to some safe place is gripping and all-encompassing. One of those films whose scenes haunt you days and months after. Highly recommended: I would see it again.

Tim Meade

There is something eerily enigmatic in seeing a lone teacher in a one-room school in the middle of nowhere. It was used to great effect in Ted Kotcheff's re-discovered 1971 Australian classic Wake in Fright and director David Oelhoffen conjures similar ambiance in his ultimately gripping Algerian-based drama Far From Men.Set in 1950s Algeria against a backdrop of growing civil unrest to French colonial rule, Daru (Viggo Mortensen), is an apparently unassuming French teacher in a remote and barren outpost, educating young Arab children on matters French with no apparent nod to their own heritage. His isolated retreat is broken by the manacled arrival of Mohamed (Reda Kateb) on a charge of the murder of his cousin. He is ordered to take the prisoner to the nearest French administrative centre where he knows full well that after a perfunctory trial, the Arab will be found guilty and executed. More than reluctant to undertake this task, which he clearly views as accessory to a killing, events take a dramatic turn leaving the diffident teacher with no moral alternative but to undertake the task. The film then follows their journey as they head out over rocky, mountainous terrain.Oelhoffen and cinematographer Guillaume Deffontaines take full advantage of the Algerian desert landscape, frequently showing the two men pitted against its magnitude and harsh, extreme conditions. It is exceedingly well shot, drawing the audience in with its captivating imagery. Music from Australians Nick Cave and Warren Ellis was unobtrusive.Initially slow-burning, the film bursts into energy with gripping drama, twists and turns. As the back stories unfold, the surprising resilience and phlegm shown by the quiet teacher is understood. The conclusion was unexpectedly poignant.The concept and themes of two diverse men on a road journey pitted against elements and events far bigger than them are not unfamiliar. But the injection of unexpected plot devices and character development keep the film fresh and the audience engaged. Performances from both Mortensen and Kateb are strong and the two actors gel together well.


The movie is timeless, with a great story, breathtaking landscapes and Viggo Mortensen - as always - excellent, and he speaks at least three foreign languages in this French movie. A must seen movie and the best one I have seen all this year 2015. You have in this feature the sad and beautiful story of a short and poignant friendship during war in Algeria. Two very different men who will have to fit together, against all odds. I think Viggo Mortensen does well to play in 'little movies',his acting is getting better and better as he is getting older.I saw the movie with only 15 people in a little cinema. What a shame that big cinema buildings don't show this one. But I don't mind, then all the people are at least interested! Everybody should go to the cinema to see this excellent drama!!!