Movie Review: The Boys from Brazil

Denisa’s still away, so when it comes to what I watch, it’s been a much simpler process. Basically, I just skim through movies until I see something that looks intriguing at all, and then press play. (This isn’t to say it’s Denisa’s fault that it’s harder to figure out what to watch with her. Rather, that it becomes more difficult as soon as you add a second person to the mix, regardless of who that person is.)

In any case, last night the movie that caught my eye was The Boys from Brazil. Why? Because it was nominated for three Oscars (including best actor), it stars Laurence Olivier as a Nazi hunter and Gregory Peck as Dr. Mengele, and it looked like it had a twisty turny plot. That was enough for me. All told, it was a decent movie, especially considering the fact that I hadn’t heard of it at all before.

It takes place in the early 80s. Ex-Nazis are still living down in Paruguay, and an amateur Nazi hunter (played by a young Steve Gutenberg) finds out Dr. Mengele is up to something. (He actually died in 1979, but the movie was based on a book that came out before Mengele died, so at the time it actually wasn’t completely preposterous that the doctor of Auschwitz might come up with some sort of crazy Nazi plan.) When Olivier’s character catches wind of it, he kicks into gear to try and stop it, even though it makes absolutely no sense on the surface. (Mengele wants to assassinate 94 completely ordinary 65 year old men.)

It definitely ended up taking some turns I didn’t see coming, though by about half way through, things began to get clearer, and by the end it was pretty obvious to the point of it feeling like the Big Reveal was fifteen minutes too late, give or take. Still, seeing as how it was dabbling in technology and science that’s around forty years old, I suppose that’s not too surprising.

Olivier and Peck both do good jobs, though Olivier wins out. (He took the job at the time because he was getting older and wanted to provide for his family once he passed. Peck took the job because he wanted to work with Olivier.) It was fun to see the two of them chew up some screen together. Overall, I gave it a 7/10.

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