Movies / Movie Reviews

Freier Fall (2013)


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By Hervé St-Louis
June 6, 2022 - 08:00

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In Freier Fall (Free Fall in English) German cop Kay Engel induces fellow trainee Marc Borgmann into an elicit relationship. At first, hesitant and convinced that he is straight, Borgmann rebuffs Engel’s advance. But Engel does not let go and attempts to move in closer to Borgmann’s life, even as he is about to have a newborn baby boy with his girlfriend. As the elicit affair takes place, the lives of both men turn bad as they are caught in their own web of deceit and hurt. Can they even make it out alive without destroying everything around them?

The labelling of this movie as the German equivalent of Brokeback Mountain is pitiful and erroneous. The film does not need that label to appeal to audiences. While I understand why the producers and distributors might have used this to entice international audiences, the two films are quite different. This speaks a lot about the difficulty of foreign films to push through international markets, especially English-speaking ones.

While the cinematography, the pacing of Free Fall, and the story were captivating, I found it amazing that an adult like Marc Borgmann would simply be “converted” to homosexuality randomly by a gay man like Kay Engel. In that sense, the film played with existing and ridiculous fears of many heterosexual men of being seduced by a rumbustious gay man as if it was out of their control.

I would have liked the movie to focus a bit more on why Engel felt that he had a good chance with Borgmann to explain why he tried to seduce him. This would have transformed the character into more than a jealous and selfish homewrecker and showed a bit more of the humanity that he lacked. Moreover, spending time to explain why he transferred to the same precinct as Borgmann would have further explained why he felt for his colleague, instead of going the easier route of finding a companion already in the gay community. Engel in this film was nothing but an accessory to highlight Borgmann’s life, as can be seen at how he disappeared from the film.

Thus, this film perpetuates classic tropes of the poor innocent straight guy who was seduced by the evil temptress who then proceeds to destroy his life by making him magically gay. At first viewing, the film was poignant but upon reflection, it was problematic. When the sequel finally comes out, I hope that we can understand more of Engel’s character and have him be more than an accessory in Borgmann’s life.

Rating: 7.5 /10


Last Updated: June 26, 2022 - 00:05

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