Freedom ★★★½

Freedom is just another word in Sharunas Bartas' slow-burning, meditative film Freedom, which follows three fugitives who are stranded in the Moroccan desert after a smuggling operation gone bad.
Bartas' characters are as beaten down and weatherworn as the landscapes they pepper with their barely living corpses. The faces of the three fugitives are so dark and deteriorated at times they resemble some form of a long forgotten German expressionist face from the '20s. There is a grit and grueling realism that doesn't really mesh with Bartas' usual long, languorous, poetic camera. Though halfway thru Freedom, the visual motifs, the overall style, the blending of overbearing realism and Bartas being Bartas aesthetically begins to click, all coming together just in time to hammer home the last stretch of bleakness that would be impossible for a Bartas film to exist without.

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