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Looking for a quick "escape", Rebecca convinces Hanna to take her along and the two set off to see "the American," a mysterious businessman that owes Hanna's husband money. But when Hanna and Rebecca reach his office, they are confronted by Leila, a Palestinian who tells Hanna that "the American" and the money are missing.
Determined not to leave the Free Zone without her husband's debt paid, Hanna forces Leila to join her - with Rebecca tagging along - and the three woman begin their search. Soon the relationship between them turns into an emotional solidarity that will affect each of their lives forever.
Top Customer Reviews
"Free Zone" (93 min.; originally released in 2005) is at its most basic, an unconventional road movie. Rebecca (Natalie Portman) has just broken up with her finace and is in a cab to get away from it all. The initial 7-8 minutes of the movie is just a close-up of Portman, clearly in distress trying to cope with the break-up (while credits are rolling and "Had Gadia", a traditionak Passover song, is playing. It is one of the most amazing openings of a movie I have seen in a long time. The cab driver is Hanna (played by Hanna Laslo), and as it turns out, Hanna needs to go to the Free Zone near the Jordan-Israeli border to collect some money that is owed to her husband. In the Free Zone, they meet up with Laila (Hiam Abbas), who is the contact person for collecting the money. You'll have to see for yourself how it all plays out. This is a slow-moving film, which is fine by me but not for anyone in a hurry. I thought Natalie Portman gave another outstanding performance. Hanna Laslo won Best Actress award at the 2005 Canned Film Festival, where this movie made quite a splash.
As already mentioned, I've had the good fortune of catching a number of really engaging movies out of Israel the last couple of months, including Lemon Tree, Or My Treasure, For My Father, Seven Minutes in Heaven, and of course last Fall's theatrical release Lebanon. I can now add "Free Zone" to that list of "recommended" movies.
The landscapes and locations shown are impressive and oppressive and in my eyes not really beautiful.
The pictures come over quite experimental as well as the very reduced plot.
The first scene with Natalie crying is downright err... special but in connection with this song Had Ghadia by Chava Alberstein which I liked most with French subtitles it is like a wonderful figurehead for the whole movie. And I think its supposed to be.
The cast as I see it is extraordinary good and all three women contribute to this movie in a way you can't do better.
I bought this DVD (used, OmU with german subtitles,rare but nevertheless cheap) because I want to see every movie Natalie was in.
That doesn't mean that I will give five stars for all of her movies... definitely not! There are several which I don't like or where I ask myself: Why did she sign to that ?
This movie however (watched in original English/Hebrew) did impress me very much in a positive way without me being able to explain that precisely. It comes from the heart... Somehow I tend to believe that I understand why Natalie signed for this one...
Ok I admit it, I adore her...
Sadly my special rare copy with German subtitles came without any additional material and without any booklet in the box.
Basically it is a film about the clash of cultures and the hardships on both the Israelis and the Jordanians. I think the film paints a good picture of life in these countries. The acting is excellent too. But the story is so confused that it is hard to follow the plot and I actually revisited some parts of this film in order to figure out what was happening. I never did figure it out. Sorry, but I just can't recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm not a fan of Natalie Portman (she can't act, she can't act here either) so I really wanted to like this movie. Read morePublished on February 7, 2013 by Bartok Kinski
This movie was poor in acting (except for Natalie, she was brilliant as always) and quality. It didn't seem to have any real plot or any depth what-so-ever. Read morePublished on September 30, 2012 by leybos
I'm not a fan of Natalie Portman (she can't act, she can't act here either) so I really wanted to like this movie. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Bartok Kinski
This is a good movie with some important Mid East understanding. It's worth a look if the Mid East concerns you. Read morePublished on January 14, 2009 by A. G. Jenks
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