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Freaks VS The Reich (Freaks Out) – Toronto After Dark Review

There is always a chance that anticipation and hype around a film can build up anticipation and then the final product can be a let down. I have been eagerly wanting to see Gabriele Mainetti’s Freaks Out since Fantastic Fest 2021 and have missed every opportunity to see it until it had its Ontario Premiere at Toronto After Dark. Now did I think there was any real possibility a film I have been hotly anticipating for nearly a year and a half could possibly live up to the absurd expectations I set for it, honestly no. However, much to my delight and surprise, Freaks Out lived up to my wild expectations and then some and is so much more than anyone could ever describe it as. To dub it as one of the best X-Men movies ever is a serious comment, but alas, it is one that is being made and one that can be stood by. Freaks Out is the real deal, and it’s a clear passion project filled with love and heart through and through.

The film focuses around Matilde played by Aurora Giovinazzo, Fluvio played by Claudio Santamaria, Cencio played by Pietro Castellitto and Mario played by Giancarlo Martini, as they all work at a circus displaying their unique gifts for consumers as the circus is led by Israel played by Giorgio Tirabassi. The film takes place in the 1943, so the backdrop is World War II and the Nazis, so when the group decides to take their money and flee to America, after their carnival gets bombed, they all reluctantly agree to let Israel find them safe transportation. However, when he doesn’t return, they assume the worst, except for Matilde, who knows Israel would never abandon them. Not knowing where to turn to next, and needing to make money, Cencio convinces Fulvio and Mario to join the Nazi circus led by Franz played by Franz Rogowski, who can see into the future and knows Hitler is going to lose the war but sees 4 silhouettes of gifted people who can help him and Hitler win the war.

Freaks Out boasts a strong script that just amplifies love and passion for film making and chosen family, this movie just exhumes heart and passion and it is amplified by its characters. The entire cast has been let down in the past by their families, and moreover society, and they’re afraid of getting burned again. They turn to literal Nazis for salvation, just to try and make ends meet, not realizing it was their ultimate doom by choosing that path, and then overcoming the odds and stopping history from changing forever. There is so much subtext that can be read into and examined, but at its face value it is about a group of chosen family members coming together, against the odds, and ensuring their safety.

Pietro Castellitto is truly the standout of the film, who plays the most troubled character as he is one hundred percent fur, so there was no way for him to do anything other than work for the circus. He delivers such heart and passion throughout his performance that just captivates the audience. Franz Rogowski plays evil incredibly well, and hopefully he doesn’t get typecast, not that he wouldn’t be excellent playing the evil character consistently but no one likes being typecasted. Freaks Out boasts an incredible script with some of the most beautiful direction I’ve seen in a movie in a while, proves that superhero movies don’t need to follow the same formula we’ve seen for the past near twenty years, and can simultaneously say something without it being a bloated political agenda. Freaks Out truly is a spectacle that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen you can find and enjoy the marvels that unfold in its two and a half hours that absolutely fly by.  

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Freaks VS The Reich (Freaks Out) – Toronto After Dark Review


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About The Author

My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep.

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