Road Rash Reviews

Freaks Vs the Reich Review****-

Cert 15 | 141 mins | 2024

4 star spectacularly surreal onslaught on the senses.

Originally known as Freaks Out, Freaks Vs the Reich is a 2021 Italian fantasy historical drama film, written by Nicola Guaglianone (Indivisible) and Gabriele Mainetti (They Call Me Jeeg Robot), who also directs.

It is presented here in Italian and German with English subtitles and is available to buy on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 26th February 2024 courtesy of Dazzler Media.

“Just so I understand, once we arrive in America without a circus, what are we going to do? The freaks show?”

It’s 1943 and in Rome, the Circo Mezzo Piatto is holding a performance. Run by Jewish Ringmaster Israel (Giorgio Tirabassi – The Black Sheep), there are four star performers who draw the crowds. Cencio (Pietro Castellitto – Twice Born, The Prophecy of the Armadillo) is a foul mouthed albino with the ability to telepathically control all insects. Mario (Giancarlo Martini – Abbi Fede) is a dwarf who can manipulate metal objects, while Fulvio (Claudio Santamaria – Casino Royale) is a strongman who is covered in hair. The most impressive act by far is the beautiful Matilde (Aurora Giovinazzo – Dog Years, Nuovo Olimpo), a young woman who is electrically charged, but who cannot touch anyone for fear of electrocuting them.

All of their lives are about to change when German bombs are dropped nearby, destroying the circus. On Israel’s advice, they decide to head for America. Reluctant at first, they pay for their tickets and he heads into town to make the arrangements. When he doesn’t return, the boys think the worst, but Matilde believes he may have been captured by the Germans and heads out to look for him. Fulvio, Cencio and Mario elect to head for the prestigious Zircus Berlin to look for work.

Unbeknown to them, this is the location of the deranged Franz (Franz Rogowski – Lubo, Great Freedom), a Nazi pianist with six fingers on each hand. He is an ether addict who believes that he can see the future, and that four circus freaks (our protagonists) are pivotal to turning the tide of war in Hitler’s favour. Are they walking into the mouth of the lion and can they take on the Reich?

“What do you need it for if you’re going to lose the war? I am our only hope. They are our only hope. We must get them on our side.”

Freaks Vs the Reich is an extravaganza of sights and sounds right from the start. It intermingles moments of magic with true brutality so seamlessly that it does make you wince more than a few times.

There are a number of moments which are difficult to watch given the subject matter, notably the families being loaded onto trains while their belongings are left at the side of the tracks. We know what they don’t, that they won’t be needing them any more. It’s well handled though and doesn’t feel exploitative, more serves to fuel our anger further.

They are unequivocal in their hatred of the Nazis and it’s satisfying to cheer on anybody hell bent on sticking it to the man. It is a bit too long, at well over two hours, it could have been slimmed down a bit with better thought out and more coherent storytelling. All in all though, very enjoyable and well worth adding to your collection.

“I was there at the military medical exam. The doctors laughed when they saw his hands. I still remember it. Since that day, God only knows why, he’s been convinced that freaks of nature like him exist, with special powers.”

Dazzler Media presents Freaks Vs The Reich on Blu-ray, DVD and Download-to-Own from 26 February.

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DirectorGabriele Mainetti
GenreAdventure, drama, fantasy
StarringAurora Giovinazzo, Claudio Santamaria, Pietro Castellitto, Franz Rogowski
Available to buy on : Own Freaks Vs the Reich on DVD Own Freaks Vs the Reich on Blu-Ray
Category: Blu-ray, Digital, dvd, film, Review