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94 Baby Hitlers and One Great (Horrible) Movie Review

July 6, 2012
Cover of "The Boys From Brazil"

Cover of The Boys From Brazil

Remember how at the beginning of summer (not too long ago, actually) I set out to watch at least two movies from my list within a list*? Well… I didn’t factor in the fact that it’s almost impossible for me and Colin to actually choose a movie and that usually when we can decide on one it’s either: a. Not on Netflix or b. Not appropriate to watch with his parents. What I’m trying to say is that things aren’t going so well classic-movie-watching wise. That’s why last Saturday night we didn’t sit down to a timeless masterpiece like Citizen Kane or West Side Story. Nope, instead we were treated to The Boys from Brazil (1978) a movie about a weird Nazi plot and a Nazi Hunter trying to stop said weird Nazi plot… I think. Definitely not on the AFI top 100 list of movies. Trust me, I checked like three times.

Super Quick Movie Review:

If you’re like me and you don’t like to know too much about a movie before watching it. (No spoilers, I promise)

This movie was weird, but in a good way. The plot was pretty crazy, the scenes were set up in weird ways, the characters were a bit over the top and the ACCENTS! Oh the accents were pretty crazy, but that’s what made it fun. I’m not sure if I agree that this movie is a thriller (at least according to IMDb) because I found it to be more of a really weird/dark comedy, but I do agree that it’s worth watching because it’s fun and that’s what movies were meant to be. :)

PS: Please watch it with a friend. Half the fun is pausing the movie and trying to find out what just happened.

Actual Movie Review Stuff

Some guy discovers a group of Nazis headed by Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck) plotting to kill 94 men. He then does the logical thing and contacts a famous Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier) so they can team up and kick some Nazi ass! But he doesn’t convince him, except I guess he does. Just not in the “let’s team up and kick Nazi ass” way, but more in the “I just died and things got serious” way. The rest of the film follows Ezra on his mission to find out what the heck these Nazis are up to. Then things get real, just not in the way you expect things to go.

Lieberman is a bit of a disappointment as a main character. He’s old and frail, I was afraid he was going to break a hip! Makes you wonder how in the world he’s planning to stop a group of cold-blooded Nazis. The entire time you expect Lieberman to be right in the action instead of just trailing casually behind trying to find out what’s happening, but no. There aren’t any huge Nazi/Nazi Hunter conflicts, just Nazis killin’ dudes and then Lieberman interviewing their families.  I felt like he never really did anything (at least never on purpose) even though the movie tries to convince you otherwise. Even the way the Nazis react when they find out that Lieberman is talking to the families makes you feel like you missed a scene of Lieberman being a total bad-ass when you got up to get a cup of water. Colin and I even wondered if there was an entire movie before this one of Lieberman snapping Nazi necks and peeing on Hitler that we missed. The entire time I was waiting for Lieberman to live up to his reputation (snap some necks, pee on Hitler, maybe at least call the police…), maybe that’s just too much to ask for.

Mengele drives the film in a way that Lieberman doesn’t (can’t?) by actually doing stuff. He comes up with the plot, he orders people, he gets angry, he throws tantrums. His biggest flaw/strength (he still has me confused) is that he’s a bit of a flip flopper. Mengele never really feels like a villain except for a brief scene near the beginning when they show him injecting blue dye in a small boy’s eyes, but throughout the movie that scary image melts away and we’re just left with a man who overreacts so much that he’s no longer terrifying, he’s just a big fat joke. I mean, he is responsible for coming up with a plot that would “rekindle the Third Reich,” but he’s also responsible for the two most hilarious lines in the entire movie: “I am a doctor, idiot!” and “SHUT UP, YOU UGLY BITCH!” Mengele pretty much makes the movie what it is: hilarious (I feel weird just typing that) with his crazy outbursts and his slew of one-liners. Probably not what Peck was going for in his portrayal of the cold-blooded Nazi doctor who experimented on children and killed millions during WWII*…

*Fun/Scary Fact: When this movie was being made, the real Josef Mengele was still alive in São Paulo, Brazil. He died in 1979, shortly after the movie’s release.

What it all comes down to is this movie does a lot of things wrong (there were times when I was expecting the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to show up and crack a few jokes), but it does so in a way that is enjoyable to watch. Sure it’s not the horror/thriller Nazi movie that (I’m guessing) they were trying to make, but it is a pretty funny/dark comedy with an interesting plot. You won’t come away with a profound knowledge of Nazis or genetics, but you will come away with a fun new line to throw at your boyfriend. Definitely worth watching.

Colin: Mariana, you already ate half a bag of marshmallows I don’t think we should get a milkshake.

Me: “SHUT UP, YOU UGLY BITCH!”

laughs all around!

Ratings

Overall: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

The less you know about the plot, the better!

Screams: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

This movie is definitely not a thriller unless you find bad accents horrifying

Laughs: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Sub-par acting, bad accents and an over-the-top plot make for a great accidental dark comedy!

The Professionals:

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%, Certified Fresh
IMDb: 7.0/10.0

*do yourself a favor and go check out my list of movies-I-need-to-watch-before-I-kick-the-bucket and my life list

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