Netflix’s recent superhero film ‘Freaks: You’re One Of Us’ (German: Freaks – Du bist eine von uns) begins with a promising tone by bringing the idea of the inner (rather superhuman) strength of ordinary people and what happens when they get to learn about their powers, but somehow could not capitalize more on the psychology behind and social commentary. The film is not unique in such a pervasive genre, but entertaining.
It’s also good that filmmakers from different countries are coming up with interesting stories in the genre. Certainly, there is no need to have over the top action or the same good versus evil story. The success lies with interesting characters and not-so-predictable stories.
Watch the trailer for ‘Freaks: You’re One Of Us’
Coming back to Freaks, written by Marc O. Seng (“Dark,” “The Red Band Society”), the film is directed by Felix Binder. This sci-fi superhero flick follows the life of a sweet little girl Wendy with extraordinary powers, but she is now idle and grown up as a hardworking and caring mother, unaware of her past.
So, when she gets to learn that she has extraordinary physical strength that is being suppressed by medication, she wanted to learn more about others like her, who are considered different. Her accomplice is a mysterious beggar with a superpower, and one of her coworker Elmar, who also has extra-human skills. They join hands to find others but there is a lot more at stake.
‘Freaks: You’re One Of Us’ has enough family drama, if not the action to keep us engaged, however, it never provided much explanation in terms of keeping superhumans away from the society, as one rogue superhuman is not enough reason to take away the freedom of all. Also, other than the obvious reason, there is nothing specific about the facility that now captures and puts humans with superpowers under captivity. There is no reference to any larger goal here.
Characterization wise, Freaks has its focus on Wendy, mostly, by shaping her with love and care for her family and her genuine concern for others like her. The character of the homeless guy is interesting but never developed fully. Besides, the other character we would like to learn more about is Elmar. With his electric powers, he is the real freaky guy here who is a big comic-book fan, and hence ready to do anything for fame – as ‘Electro Man’.
There are few general questions in the film like: is there any need for superheroes, or are those with superhuman skills can still be a part of the society? What is about power and responsibility of those with or without powers? Nevertheless, ‘Freaks: You’re One Of Us’ in the first half sets it up very well for a dramatic ending, but it falls short – as the climax seems hurried and predictable.
Film Title: ‘Freaks: You’re One Of Us’ (Original German title Freaks – Du bist eine von uns)
Cast: Cornelia Gröschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Wotan Wilke Möhring, Nina Kunzendorf, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Gisa Flake, Ralph Herforth, and Thelma Buabeng.
Directed by Felix Binder
Written by Marc O. Seng
Now Streaming on Netflix
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