It’s not every day a gem pops up my Amazon Prime Video queue but today happens to be that day.
An Italian flick titled Freaks vs The Reich (English subtitles) was recommended to me by the algorithm and while I was nearly quick to dismiss it, I noticed it has four and a half stars.
So I read the description and decided to give it a try: “Set in 1943 in the midst of WWII, four circus performers with magical powers known as ‘freaks’ find themselves wanted by Nazis bent on using their powers for world domination.”
I also googled the movie and the trailer surfaced on Reddit where someone compared the flick to X-Men. Okay, cool.
While Freaks vs The Reich might sound like a cheesy title, and I guess the original title is Freaks Out, don’t let it fool you. The movie is done well. The story is great. The special effects are really good. The acting is also terrific, and the bonus: No woke BS.
It’s better than and filmed better than The Marvels, The Flash, Quantumania, Thor: Love and Thunder, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and pretty much everything Marvel on Disney+ save WandaVision, Loki, and Moon Knight. It’s way better than Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey.
I think you will be surprised. I was.
Before we continue, don’t bother reading anymore and just watch Freaks vs The Reich on Amazon. It’s worth it and has an official Matt guaran-damn-tee McGloin recommendation.
I’ll give you a little tease: Basically, you can look at the movie as if mutants exist and then the nazis attack and invade but they really don’t know much about their powers and there are only around four of them.
If there were mutants in 1940s WWII
The “mutants” (freaks) consist of a man who can control insects, a dwarf with magnetism powers, a wolf man with super strength, and a girl with electric powers. Again, might sound cheesy but they do it well. The bad guy? Dude is a sicko, has six fingers on each hand, and can see the future. So of course, he knows the nazis are going to lose the war and wants to capture the “mutants” thinking he will be able to turn the tide. There are some cool scenes they incorporate as he can see the future with nods to current tech and even the use of present-day music. Nice touch.
So the gist of the story, per above, is that the movie is set in WWII Italy. The movie starts out with a literal bang as the five are performing the circus but then the nazis attack and blow everything up. So the four performers and Israel, their leader / father-figure, are forced to leave town. Israel decides to go to America but they need proper papers so the four give him money. Israel goes off to Rome but never returns. The four think they have been bamboozled. So they decide to join the German Circus. Big mistake. Along the way they encounter nazis, a rebel group of fighters, and eventually the bad guy. Then, of course, there is the grand finale.
Again, I liked it a lot. It reminds me of an X-Men story or The Umbrella Academy, and it’s refreshing considering the heap of garbage we have been getting lately from both DC and Marvel for the past few years.
I’m not familiar with any of the actors or creators but the director is Gabriele Mainetti. Checking IMDb it looks like he is a fan of superheroes and sci-fi judging from his most recent work, so I’ll keep him on my radar.
Aurora Giovinazzo who plays Matilde the electric girl is another one to keep on your radar. She really did a great job and made you feel for all the characters and how they all are a family though a bit dysfunctional.
Claudio Santamaria plays Fulvio the super strong wolf man and plays the role perfectly. While he comes off as a rough and tough “animal,” he’s got a heart of gold.
Pietro Castellitto plays Cencio the dude who can control insects. The character is kind of a weirdo but you can’t help root for him.
Giancarlo Martini plays the dwarf Mario who has the power of magneticism. Magneto he is definitely not as in the circus he plays a clown.
Franz Rogowski plans the nazi, Franz. I thought he made a great villain and we see how Franz is a “freak” too and in his quest for acceptance went too far and to the dark side.
I also think if you happen to be a fan of Dark Phoenix, you’ll like the flick a lot.
When does the sequel get released?