Movie Review: Mr. Freedom

Dennis suggests Mister Freedom (in Incredibly Strange). This 1969 superhero/spy satire is essentially the reason why we have an Incredibly Strange section*. It’s a nigh-unclassifiable, day-glo, artsy, violent, goofball, angry spoof of, well, America, I guess, and its shall we say checkered approach to foreign policy, all wrapped up in the gaudy, sports-equipment based costume of the titular Mr. F, poster boy for gung-ho, racist, sexist, interventionist, anti-Commie thuggery. Mr. Freedom (John Abbey) moonlights from his day job as a redneck deputy as the

The soul of America.

The soul of America.

beshoulderpadded operative of Freedom, Inc., your typically-all-controlling corporate/political cabal and is redeployed from his current mission humiliating and gunning down a black family with a looted dishwasher by his boss Doctor Freedom (Donald Pleasance) in order to investigate the murder of Freedom, Inc.’s operative in France Capitaine Formidable. So, cowboy hat on head and football helmet in hand, Mr. F proceeds to France and proceeds to live up to every conceivable American stereotype. Along the way, he runs into shady caricatures like the similarly-bejumpsuited Russian Moujik Man, the giant, inflatable dragon Red China Man, and, of course, the rude and unhelpful Super Frenchman as well as Freedom Inc. allies such as Mr. Drugstore (Serge Gainsbourg), Capt. Formidable’s ‘common-law widow’ (Delphine Seyrig) and, at one point, Jesus Christ. It’s way hit-or-miss, as most broadly-comic satires are, but there are some big laughs to be had; I particularly appreciated Mr. Freedom’s inspirational rally where he sells anti-insurgency kits, using his jingoistic Americanness (and his creepy resemblance to Tony Robbins), and his visit to the American embassy which doubles as a proto-Wal Mart. Weird movie…but’s that’s why you go the Incredibly Strange section…

*In the iterrim, Mr. Freedom, along with two other quirky satires by director William Klein (Who Are You Polly Magoo? and The Model Couple) were packaged together and released en masse by those artsy kooks at the Criterion Collection, so you can find them all there. But rest assured, they are all still delightfully, Incredibly Strange.

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Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 12:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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