Police cadet Marc (Hanno Koffler) seems to have the perfect life; happy relationship and a baby on the way. However, when fellow cadet Kay (Max Riemelt) makes no secret of his desire for him, Marc finds himself engaged in an illicit affair with another man, and living a secret life.
Billed as the German Brokeback Mountain, Free Fall is an interesting look at a relationship between two men. Kay first engages with Marc as they train together, Kay reminds his colleague to ‘breathe evenly’ instead of panting and gasping for air as he runs this becomes a central theme of the film; Kay smoothly and easily moves through the world, whereas Marc struggles and fights against what he feels.
Koffler plays Marc as a man in the midst of fear; fear for the change in his life as he moves house and he moves closer to becoming a father, and fear for the feelings he has for another man. Riemelt is as comfortable as Koffler is fearful, and the chemistry between the two actors is warm and strong.
Screenwriters Stephen Lacant and Karsten Dahlem have created a story of control, loss and acceptance; Free Fall is an engaging gay drama, even though it hangs on some slightly strange story hooks, including the first proper physical encounter between the men feeling a little less romantic and more like rape than is strictly comfortable. As well as this, there is the feeling that Marc and Kay only enjoy such a close relationship because Marc is afraid of change, rather than there being an actually discovery and acknowledgement to be made. That said, however, the film also shines a light on the acceptance of homosexuality in Germany and, in particular, the German police force.
As director, Lacant frames his film beautifully and creates some incredibly tender moments between the lovers. Sten Mende’s cinematography creates two contrasting worlds in the lives that Marc lives, and shows Germany at both it’s best and it’s worst.
Free Fall is an interesting and engaging gay drama that questions the acceptance of homosexuality in oneself and in culture as a whole. Koffler and Riemelt have wonderful chemistry and hold the film together, even as it suffers from some ironically safe choices and a slightly drawn out running time.