The Free Will is a 168-minute slog through pain and misery for Nettie, Theo, and Theo's victims broken only by a period of doomed love in the film's middle act which lasts no longer than a cherry blossom's bloom. Nettie can no more save Theo from his nature, than she can keep from losing herself in him. Both are victims of their nature, and while the journey is made sufferable by outstanding performances from Vogel and Timoteo, the film's arc is as deterministic as the characters' fate.
Director Matthias Glasner succeeded in giving The Free Will a high degree of realism on a miniscule budget. Everything was shot using an inexpensive hand-held video camera, on location, without extras or elaborate light setups. To further save money Glasner shot the film and performed most of the music himself. This attention to cost-cutting gave Glasner the freedom to make what amounted to a six-hour first cut, but perhaps a better use of money would have been to shoot less footage and to instead spend the savings on an outside film editor. At 168 minutes, The Free Will is at least an hour too long. As Glasner admits in the commentary, he was doing major edits to the film up until the last moment before it was submitted into the film festival circuit. Unfortunately, too much that an objective editor would have cut remained in.
This release is presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio and anamorphically enhanced. Though many of the limitations in the picture quality are attributable to the filming methods, especially the low contrast, washed out colors, and some video errors, there's also digital combing, ghosting, and soft focus on this release likely attributable to the PAL-to-NTSC transfer.
Extras include a booklet with essay by film critic David Fear, the theatrical trailer, and a filmmaker commentary, in German with optional English subtitles, by director Matthias Glasner and co-writer/star Jürgen Vogel.