Outside the Law

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Outside the Law

Rachid Bouchareb (2010)

15 Certificate


Our Score
This sprawling, generation-spanning drama owes something to Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once upon a Time in America and deals with several push-button French issues - not just France's ongoing, touchy relationship with immigrants but its conflicts abroad and specifically its problems in Algeria. The Oscar-nominated drama begins with a mother and three sons being evicted from their ancestral Algerian farmland. One boy joins the French army, another becomes radicalised in Algeria, and the third becomes a small-time spiv in Paris. Naturally the three stories converge, but when they do, though the period feel and detail are excellent, the fascinating historical complexities become somewhat lost in a sentimental tale of bloody ties and brotherly duty. Former stand-up Jamel Debbouze as the sibling who rises through the Parisian underworld to become a boxing promoter is especially good, but his natural warmth and low-key comic skills are sorely underused in a dry, serious film that badly needs both.


Three brothers are split up when they lose their home to French forces during the Algerian war. One ends up joining the French army, one becomes a political activist campaigning for independence and the other seeks his fortune in the Paris underworld. Drama, with Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila. In French and Arabic.

Cast & Crew

Saïd Jamel Debbouze
Messaoud Roschdy Zem
Abdelkader Sami Bouajila
Mother Chafia Boudra
Colonel Faivre Bernard Blancan
Hélène Sabrina Seyvecou
Ali Assaad Bouab
Morvan Thibault de Montalembert
Otmani Samir Guesmi
Director Rachid Bouchareb
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Other Information

Language: French / ArabicColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 6 May 2011