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The Raspberry Reich (2004)

Rating: 1/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

UK Certificate: 18 (cut)


There’s something about the words “German” and “comedy” that just don’t seem to fit very well together. Certainly, ‘Raspberry Reich’ is German. Nobody could even attempt to deny that. From its wispy facial hair, to its relentlessly pornographic imagery, to its unbearable techno-pop soundtrack, this film couldn’t be any more German if it featured David Hasselhoff belting out “I’ve Been Looking for Freedom” from a-top the Berlin Wall. But comedy? Well, whether it’s managed to master that side of things is another matter entirely.

The plot, or what vague semblance of a plot there is, involves a gang of Berlin terrorist wannabes who kidnap the son of a wealthy industrialist. Led by the perma-yelling sex maniac Gudrun (she spends the whole film either shagging, telling other people to get shagging, or shouting random nonsense like “Sexual liberation is not sexual exploitation” and “War is not the answer: revolution is”), they aim to achieve the donation of one million Euros to citywide food banks and release of various political prisoners.

Here though, story-telling is of secondary importance to graphic close-ups of man-on-man action and a constant barrage of political slogans flashing up on the screen. It’s the ultimate example of style-over-substance, offensive not because of its subject matter or what it chooses to show you on-screen (although I would have to say I can definitely live without seeing some German bloke’s danglers every few minutes), but simply because of how unremittingly crap it is.

Just 15 minutes in, I was seriously left wondering how I could possibly make it through an entire film’s-worth of this sheer awfulness – and I haven’t felt that way since Evita. Aside from the fact that the acting is atrocious (four of the actors have their voices dubbed into English, but the rest rely misguidedly on their own tenuous grasp of the language), the story is weak and the “comedy” is of the sort that would have been considered out-dated 20 years ago.

Canadian writer-director Bruce La Bruce is regarded in some quarters as something of a maverick of the industry, but a glimpse at his CV doesn’t exactly show him as a man with an interest in a particularly wide variety of subject matter (you don’t have to be a Grade A film student to work out what the common theme is in movies like ‘No Skin Off My Ass’, ‘The Post Queer Tour’ and ‘Skin Flick’). Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with having a specialist subject, but I detest any production which sets out to be shocking or artsy at the expense of all other basics of film-making. The only thing shocking about ‘Raspberry Reich’ is just how bad a film it truly is.

It's Got: A novel use for Tony Blair’s face.

It Needs: The volume control to hand for whenever Gudrun (Susanne Sachsse) appears on screen.

DVD Extras Trailers, audio commentary, interviews, and an introduction to the film. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10


A painful combination of gay German porn and particularly bad amateur dramatics, this is easily one of the worst films of 2004.