Monday, June 23, 2008
Movie Reviews: FUNNY GAMES
A vacationing family gets an unexpected visit from two deeply disturbed young men. Their idyllic holiday turns nightmarish as they are subjected to unimaginable terrors and struggle to stay alive.
Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet,Devon Gearhart
Director: Michael Haneke
Genres: Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
Opened March 14, 2008
Runtime:1 hr. 47 min.
Rated R for terror, violence and some language
There is a 10 minute uninterrupted shot of Naomi Watts, in her bra and panties, with her hands and feet bound trying to make herself up from the floor. The shot is impressive mainly because we feel Watts pain and distress as she struggles to make her way up to her feet. It was one of those moments in film where I felt bad for Watts, not here character but her. It's just such a painful scene and it goes on forever. Is there a great point to the entire sequence? Yes and no. Yes in that writer director, helming this shot for shot remake of his Austrian film of the same name, Michael Haneke wants the audience to feel that pain and distress. He holds the shot hoping that at some point we have to turn away from it, creating the visceral reaction he was looking for and in a way chastising us for watching it. If this sounds painful to watch, well it is and Haneke believes his movie is miles smarter than it actually is. Haneke wants this film to stand as a testament to pointless and artful violence but as a film it doesn't work. Haneke is a talented filmmaker, quite a few of his shots can bring comparisons to Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange is an easy comparison. He creates a cold detached type of atmosphere which drives his message further down our throats. The general concept of the film is thoroughly intriguing but Haneke's pretension seeps through the celluloid. He never trust his audience enough to allow them to dissect the film on their own, instead he uses tried and true arthouse techniques like breaking the 4th wall and rewinding a scene with a new outcome to make sure the audience knows how intelligent he is. While the director comes off as pretentious the actors and actresses lay themselves bare on film. Watts is spectacular and allows us to feel her pain and torture throughout the entire runtime. Tim Roth has moments were his grief is so palatable it's hard to not to believe. Michael Pitt & Brady Corbet are disturbingly cool and detached as the two psychopaths. Michael Haneke's repellant film is terribly slow and isn't for about 90% of the movie watching audience. There is bit and
pieces of the film that I found fascinating but as a complete film it's a tedious trek into arthouse exploitation.