Sunday, July 16, 2023

Freaks: You're One of Us/Freaks: Du Bist Eine Von Uns

Movie Name:
Freaks: You're One of Us/Freaks: Du Bist Eine Von Uns
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Felix Binder
Starring: Cornelia Groschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Nina Kunzendorf, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Ralph Herforth, Gisa Flake, Thelma Buabeng, Gesine Cukrowski, Charlotte Banholzer, Marcel Nazarov
Genre: Action, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Netflix

Synopsis and Review
Another release from Netflix, this new directorial endeavor from director Felix Binder, focuses its narrative on Wendy, whom we first encounter as a young girl dealing with a traumatic event that has occurred at her school. The narrative quickly moves ahead in time, and Wendy now works as a waitress in a restaurant which supports a gas station. Wendy is married and has a son, and while her life is somewhat tranquil, she has some issues with her supervisor at work who thinks she's a pushover. One evening while cleaning the restaurant and taking the trash out, she becomes acquainted with Marek, a homeless man who tells her that she should stop taking the pills her psychiatrist has prescribed for her (and that she takes every day). When Marek jumps off a highway bridge and appears unarmed the following day, Wendy finds the situation bizarre. She stops taking the pills, and when she's harassed by a bunch of hoodlums, she manages to fend them off with super human strength. In the meantime, a young man by the name of Elmar, who lives with his father and his new girlfriend, is also coming to terms with these newfound abilities, which allow him to control electricity. And while Elmar is somewhat in a stunted adolescence type of existence, thinking these new occurrences are much like the comic books he has been reading his whole life, Wendy wants to understand what exactly is going on with her.
"Freaks: You're One of Us" is an interesting concept, in the sense that it tries to be very akin to a superhero film, but takes the usual superhero inception story and replaces it with a premise that these heroes are just every day people who are being pinned down and controlled by some shady organization. For the most part Felix Binder manages to portray the triviality of Wendy's existence, even if at times it seems that Wendy has neither much of a past, nor much in terms of interests, beyond her repetitive tasks both at home and at work. The same goes for Elmar, who is also portrayed in a rather rudimentary way, with his stunted perspective on adulting, and the awkward relationship he maintains both with his father and his new lover. This lack of dimension of the main characters, including the nefarious Dr. Sten, fails to ignite much interest to the film, though the premise itself is ripe with opportunity. The film at times comes across as a pilot for a tv show, where one can assume in the following episodes more backdrop will be provided towards the characters and their relationships with each other. As it is, and while there's a rather compelling and straightforward aspect to the narrative, the film also falls a bit under a generic umbrella, without much of a distinctive point of view. The actors are solid in their depiction of the lead characters, with highlights going to Cornelia Groschel, who illustrates Wendy's journey from complacent to dynamo in a subtle but impactful way, and Ralph Herforth as Elmar's icy father. The production team is competent yet unremarkable. It's a viewable but ultimately forgettable feature.