|Production country:||Deutschland 2011|
|Running time:||Approx. 109 min.|
It seems that director Andreas Dresen likes to call a spade a spade on things that are generally not talked about. So in Wolke Neun he drew a rather open and honest picture about love and sex in old age. If this was already a taboo for many, Dresen now dedicates himself in Halt auf freier Strecke to topics about which the cloak of silence is spread even more extremely, although it affects every human being and accompanies us every day: dying.
This is what Frank Lange (Milan Peschel) is confronted with when he learns the shocking diagnosis: he has a brain tumour that cannot be removed. Frank is going to die. The only question is when and how. Frank is determined to spend the time he has left at the side of his wife (Steffi Kühnert) and his two children in the home he has just bought. Here now begins the slow, painful process of dying and the actually impossible attempt to come to terms with this situation.
After intensive research and with the help and cooperation of doctors, Dresen has directed an enormously powerful portrait of a dying man, staged extremely authentically by the actors without a fixed script. Milan Peschel's performance alone is simply magnificent. The sober staging, which completely dispenses with artificial dramaturgy and even makes use of a particularly bizarre form of humour here and there, almost makes the viewer forget that we are watching an acted story here.
What makes the film stand out and in a way also important, however, is also its greatest shortcoming. For it begs the question of what is supposed to move the viewer to watch nearly two hours of one man's miserable suffering, with no prospect of a happy ending. Because for most people going to the cinema is still a form of escaping reality and even with quite authentic stories there is still the need to feel good after watching and to leave the cinema in a positive mood. But that's impossible here. Halt on the Open Road is a punch in the stomach, an unforgiving slice of reality that hurts. The film makes it clear that it's actually impossible to lose your fear of death.
However, this film can also help. People who have experienced similar things may feel understood here, can process their grief and perhaps even draw new strength from the honesty of the production. For Dresen skilfully avoids any sensationalism, always remains intimate and reserved in his painful honesty in a certain way and thus never allows the suspicion to arise that he is deliberately trying to break a taboo in order to get as much attention as possible.
Stop on a Free Road is difficult to recommend. Because watching this film is truly not a pleasure - nor should it be. It is a powerful piece of drama cinema, a piece of reality made into a film. For those who want to be confronted with it, the drama can definitely be recommended. But if reality is already reality enough for you, you could easily be driven out of the cinema by the relentless force of the film.
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp