Cut Loose (Los)
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Most of us have our own sets of issues that we take very seriously. For some, it might be religion. For others, politics. Or maybe it’s the environment. And we’ll speak about these issues with fervent passion to anyone who will listen. But as Tom Naegels learns in the Belgian drama Cut Loose, actions often speak much louder than words.

Tom (Pepijn Caudron) has always wanted to be a serious journalist. Instead, he’s writing fluffy human interest pieces for a popular (though far from reputable) Belgian tabloid. With his friend and photographer, Jonas (Koen De Graeve), always at his side, he’s covered everything from the Gnome Liberation Front to the man who’s petitioning to shut down a local play area.

When Tom sees an ad for an integration course for immigrants, he decides that it would make the perfect story—so he drags Jonas along to a meeting. That’s where he meets Nadia (Sana Mouziane), a beautiful Pakistani woman who takes the class—and her integration into Belgian society—very seriously.

  
 
Tom’s instant attraction to Nadia creates the obvious problems in his relationship with his girlfriend, Tinne (Sofie Van Moll). But once he and Tinne separate, Tom finds that this new relationship comes with its own issues—like how he’ll introduce his immigrant friend to his racist grandfather.

Based on the novel that shares its title (as well as author Tom Naegels’s own experiences), Cut Loose (or Los in its native Dutch) is a thought-provoking story of issues and beliefs, controversy and contradiction. At one point in the film, Tom explains that it’s easy to say that you favor an issue, but it’s a whole lot harder to do something about it. For instance, it’s easy to say that he supports immigrants and their rights. He’ll even write articles about it. But when he has the opportunity to introduce his immigrant girlfriend to his family—or to stand up for an immigrant friend who’s protesting unfair treatment—it’s not as easy. It’s an interesting observation—and it’s a theme that continues throughout most of the film, as Tom deals both with immigration issues and with a much more personal (and emotional) issue involving his grandfather.

For the most part, Cut Loose focuses on understanding the important issues and making the right decisions. That may sound pretty heavy—and, at times, it is. In fact, it sometimes feels as if the film is trying to tackle too many issues in too little time. Fortunately, though, the story is also injected with plenty of humor—and when all those issues start to get a bit too overwhelming, Tom’s grandfather will disrupt the integration meeting or Jonas will do something silly to lighten the mood.

While Cut Loose is often an entertaining film, though, its issues and observations make it worth seeing. You’re sure to walk out of it with a surprising new perspective.


Ed. Note: For more on Cut Loose, visit LosDeFilm.be.

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