Free Willy

It’s not that I can’t tell a killer whale from a serial rapist — it’s simply that the dumbest puns sometimes amuse most, especially when they offer mild relief for otherwise unbearibly grim tales of doomed love and ill-fated desires. Benten‘s fourth DVD release Der Freie Wille (The Free Will) streeted last week (yes, it’s a verb), and my review is up over on

All half-hearted joking aside, Matthias Glasner’s unflinching look at uncontrollable desires and evil urges is shot, acted, and told with such an uncompromising sense of purpose it’s almost impossible to endure (how’s that for a blurb guaranteed to jack up sales?) The fearless plumbing of the abyss on display here recalls Kinski and Herzog’s Woyzeck.

I’m responsible for the translation of the disc’s commentary track subtitles, a task that required putting each scene on replay loop, and as a result, some of the images and situations seem to have permanently burnt themselves into my subconscious. What did Der Freie Wille do to my free will, and can you blame me for trying to replace tortured Jürgen Vogel, both fists jammed into his parka, with a Disneyfied orca?

Der Freie Wille. Matthias Glasner, 2006. ****