Sundance ’16 Review: ‘THE FREE WORLD’

Jason Lew presents a bleak world of second chances and doomed romance in impact drama The Free World. Lew’s feature gives a Bonnie and Clyde twist to the “Romeo and Juliet” story and those willing to overlook some obvious symbolism will find a feature rich in subtext and striking performances. Featuring the always phenomenal Elisabeth Moss and a breakout performance from Boyd Halbrook as a pair of social outcasts who’ve found each other (and themselves) on the wrong side of the law – one an ex-con, the other the (ex-)wife of a violent cop – The Free World explores the spiritual poetry of redemption and religion through the lens of besting your former shadow. To quote Hemingway, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility to being superior to your former self.” Again, this idea of self-transcendence isn’t necessarily broached with a fistful of subtlety but the thematic elements are bolstered by the two convincing, whirlwind performances at its center. Read More