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Funny Games (1997)

 -  Crime | Drama | Horror  -  11 March 1998 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 35,185 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 291 user | 122 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

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Title: Funny Games (1997)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Arno Frisch ...
Frank Giering ...
Stefan Clapczynski ...
Doris Kunstmann ...
Christoph Bantzer ...
Wolfgang Glück ...
Susanne Meneghel ...
Monika Zallinger ...
Eva
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Storyline

Two seemingly well-educated young men, who call each other Paul and Peter among other names, approach a family on vacation. They are, apparently, friends of the neighbors, and, at the beginning, their true intentions are not known. But soon, the family is imprisoned and tortured in its own house violently, which the viewers are forced mostly to imagine and to share a certain complicity with the criminals. It might be some kind of game with the lives of husband, wife, son, and dog, but why are they doing it? Written by Luis Canau <luis.canau@mail.EUnet.pt>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

game | vacation | violence | kitchen | dog | See All (92) »

Taglines:

Schockierend wie "Clockwork Orange", kontrovers wie "Natural Born Killers" See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

11 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brincadeiras Perigosas  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Michael Haneke told producer 'Veit Heiduschka' during the production that if the film was a success, it would be because audiences had misunderstood the meaning behind it. See more »

Goofs

When Anna and Georg are driving in their car, a reflection of a microphone between the front seats can be seen on the window. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Anna: Björling... Suliotis?
Georg: Almost. Björling is easy.
See more »

Connections

References Cannibal Holocaust (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Bonehead
Composed by John Zorn
Performed by Naked City (Grand Guignol)
Published by Union Jasroc
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Nasty puritanical film, disguised as being Progressive
4 October 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

I saw this excruciatingly didactic flick at the 1998 Sydney Film Festival, and to say it made me mad is the understatement of the century! I would hardly describe it as a thriller or horror film, since these are the genres it seeks to deride; it's more a puritanical lecture than anything else.

What's going on in 'Funny Games'? Rich family goes to holiday house. Rich family is imprisoned, beaten, tortured and then some by contrived baddies devoid of any motive. These things are depicted graphically and usually in whatever is the most visceral fashion that the director feels he can get them across, with a particular emphasis on the lack of motive or happy closures, or any kind of relief for the audience. Now, toss in Postmodern self-referential stuff like having the killers wink at the camera (at US!!! OH MY GOD!!!) and talking about the audience getting enough entertainment - eg 'we'll keep beating em up cos there hasn't been a feature film's worth of violence yet' - blah blah blah, to say that we, all of the audience, are complicit in this violence, and you have a conservative faux-intellectual's fantasy.

The drawn out articulation of Funny Games' ideas is so blatant and methodological, that all I feel is this film's contempt for myself, and any other viewer who doesn't buy said ideas. And heck, probably just for the average cinemagoer who might see films to experience all kinds of feelings! It's getting up on a soapbox to attack what it would like to think of as gratuitously violent exploitation films, yet is itself an exploitation film in the worst sense. This film would have you believe that so-called 'motiveless' killings really are 100 percent motiveless. And if it's so progressive, why does it associate classical music exclusively with the family and extreme heavy metal with the bad guys? At every level, Funny Games likes to set up what it sees as high culture versus low culture in general (classical versus rock being just one instance) then says that all this low culture is junk culture and tied in with all this excessive violence that the film wants us to question in the cinema. Totally regressive!

It is probably also a film that's both hypocritical and preaching to the converted at once. As mentioned at the start, I saw this at the 1998 Sydney Film festival. Now, I know a lot of the people there wouldn't give a horror film, for instance, the time of day, believing that the genre was inherently inferior. Yet these same people were content to watch the didactic sadism of Funny Games, knowing that it's directed by an intellectual Austrian and will pat them on the back in the end and reinforce their viewpoint, which is that horror/violence in cinema is trash. I love horror films, and I think there's infinitely more humanism in feeling the fears they can elicit, in confronting your mortality, and in their sincerity and imagination, than in the one-note lecture and violence of 'Funny Games'.

I gave Funny Games my BLACK HOLE award for the film at that festival which SUCKED the most!!


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