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Okay... I just read most of the 144 user reviews.... Basically I wanted to
make up my mind about this film, a film that is a very heavy
I've seen this movie 5 years ago, the good thing is most of the time you forget about (having seen) it but now and then you recall it. I can understand that many people hate this film, it is not nice to watch, the more when you see it in a theatre where the only chance to break its spell is leaving the theatre. Regardless if you leave or stay and watch it leave it beats you one way or the other. I fully agree with many other reviewers that I have no idea whom I should recommend it too. I am tempted to watch it a second time but didn't make it happen in 5 years.
Don't get me wrong. I think it is an excellent movie. It is also very disturbing and upsetting, I can't think of the right mood to watch it cause it'll take you down. And I think here is where the movie polarises. If, after watching, you find yourself deducting some message in the violence, and perhaps rethink violence - in both real life and movies - you will, well, also will have found some reason for this movies existence, if not - and it might be better if one does not - you will join in the 'crappiest movie ever chorus'.
I do however want to point out some achievement of this production:
*) The movie catches the audience in theatre. *) It does shock the audience but most of the violence is off-screen. You see more people dying in many fast-driven action movies. Only here you care. There is minor suspense, but I, personally, wouldn't put it into that category. (But then I am no horror/shocker/suspense fan and can easily err here) *) It's hard to compare it with any other movie (that I have seen). I am not sure if this is an achievement, but it's outstanding.
The reason I think Haneke made this movie. or, what I deducted from it is how far away violence and death are in our everyday lives today. While Hollywood - and other film productions serve them daily right in our living room, we hardly notice them anymore. Violence also sells movies, and we're meanwhile pretty used to that. Haneke also serves violence, and he dishes it next-door. He turns into a moral figure that asks the audience if they want more (after all me and you consume it every day) - and while HERE we want to say 'no please stop' he doesn't do our silent bidding. He pushes us down the drain, forcing us to deal with aspects of the violence we don't (want to) see. He even goes one step further. He offers us a 'good' ending, a payback that would make it easier for us to bear the movie, only to snatch it back and rip us of any cheerful emotion, telling us like 'no, sorry, here it doesn't work that way'.
I also read reviews mentioning the unsatisfying (often used, cliche) end. One more time Haneke manages to disappoint us, so far we were driven and didn't know what would happen, what to expect.
Only in the ending, we see it coming, and so it ends, obviously similar to many other movies. We're back standard movie stuff, the arc bent and the connection made.
"Funny games" is everything else but the title. Perhaps it refers to the funny games built on standard film violence in everyday movies. Perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps Haneke wants to stress that violence is a bad thing. Perhaps he's just sick.
One thing for sure, regardless if you like it, don't care, or hate it. You might have seen something somewhat like it, but nothing similar.
If you hate shockers, don't watch it. It will only be torture. If you love suspense, sorry, only very little gore here.
If you plan to watch it, calculate a few hours before you will manage to put your head to rest.
And don't watch it it personal crisis.
This movie will make you feel bad. If you watch it in a cinema, just look around. You're not alone with this feeling.
I saw this movie again last night, for the third time, and once again had
keep watching each torturous minute until its chilling end. Going through
the comments index, I see the expected responses: it was boring: it was
pointless: it was too long: it's a satire: the games aren't actually that
funny: it involved the audience in a neato way: it's nothing new: it's
done before. So I here offer an interpretation to add to the cacophany of
reactions that FUNNY GAMES seem to engender.
What this movie reminds me of is the Book of Job, in the Bible, where God and Satan decide for their own amusement to torture this guy Job, killing his family, racking him with boils, and various other divine amusements. While watching this movie last night, I thought of another reference, this time from "King Lear": "Like flies to wanton schoolboys are we to the gods;/ They kill us for their sport." What this movie does is challenge the audience's own involvement in visual narrative -- usually, we watch movies from somewhere on-high and omniscient; we're invisible but we see all; we're voyeurs, just like God. In Haneke's film, we identify not with the victims but with the all-powerful killers as they set about their funny games. The two polite young men are performing their entertainments for us, the viewers; they're slaking our bloodthirst, our desire for gory spectacle - - after all, isn't this why we watch movies like this in the first place? Haneke, however, doesn't play the usual evasions; he makes explicit the audience's participation in violence; and he forces upon us the need to take responsibility for it.
I find this fascinating. I also find the negative comments here fascinating as well -- "not violent enough!" "the victims deserve to die..." "all the violence is off-screen..." "no gore at all, 'LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT' did it first, with more blood...." etc. as being inadvertantly revealing of those viewers' psyche. I especially love the comment made by that one Viking guy, who writes that Haneke's film has "no point," and goes on to say "...I just hope those people break into MY house, so I can break them in two!"
I think Haneke made his point.
First things first, Michael Haneke HATES Quentin Tarantino's films. He
the way violence and death are shown as being 'cool' - Cool gangsters
executing their enemies whilst saying cool lines (And you will know, that
name is the Lord! etc,etc)with a cool song playing in the background. This
is not how violence is in the real world, violence is a horrible fact of
life, not a glamourous thing for youths to copy, and I think Haneke
Funny Games to show it how it really is.
I watched Funny Games without the slightest clue what the film was about,
I just had to sit back and take it as it comes. At first, I wasn't too
impressed. I thought the scenes were too long and dragged out, yet at the
same time, I felt a strange feeling of suspense. The incredibly long
shots leave you that bored, that you think "Something bad is going to
soon, I can tell...". The suspense also lasts right through the film 'til
the very end. You don't want to watch it, but at the same time, you feel
hypnotised by it.
I will not detail any events of the film, to save spoiling the atmosphere, but I will note one thing that people tend to be confused about:- "Why did the family let them into the house in the first place?" The two characters of Peter and Paul are let to walk all over the family because of one flaw in the bourgios psyche - 'The more polite a person is, the better a person they are.' This absurd way of thinking is played on by Peter and Paul and they obviously score, plus 'getting into the house without breaking in' is also one of their 'games'.For those who haven't seen the film, I definitely wouldn't recommend this for a night in with the parents/girlfriend, but I definitely would for people who want to see the difference between death and Tarantino-glam. Prepare for a highly suspenseful yet sickeningly violent, non-Hollywood, edge-of-the-seat piece of art. 8/10
Psychological horror masterpiece presses all the right buttons to
disturb at an epidermal level.
On the surface of this movie, the mere plot about two psychopaths terrorising a family doesn't seem to be particularly interesting, or critically, original either. Indeed, the fact that the entire story takes place in pretty much one place would suggest it might struggle to capture the viewer's attention, certainly for its duration.
However, the simple combination of the mechanics of the performances, the script and the general tension make this story work outstandingly well; indeed, its isolated feel simply adds to the overall claustrophobia.
Peter and Paul are two apparently genial young men, who show up at the isolated boathouse of Anna and Georg, a mature couple with a child, who are all taking a couple of weeks holiday.
When Peter seems to be making a nuisance of himself, Anna starts to lose her patience with him. Paul then arrives on the scene and before long it has converted from an underbelly of irritation to outright intimidation, followed by crude violence.
It is extremely hard to sum this movie up without making it sound like a highly unoriginal piece of cinema, but there can be no question it is anything but.
The script is simply incredible; the overtone of terror slowly creeps up on the viewer, and on Anna and Georg, with more than a dose of psychological manipulation. Almost by pretending they are doing nothing wrong, with more than a hint of cordiality along the way, the two perpetrators manage to inflict a disturbing level of fear upon the family, and yet it is the most subtle form of assault.
Rather than constant threats, the two act like dinner guests who just happen to be terrifying the heck out of their hosts.
When things go further, and violence joins in, it takes the trauma to a new level, as it is gritty horror rather than a splatterfest. These are two psychos who take intimidation, violence, and all round fear to a thoroughly psychological pane.
The movie is also laced with some deliciously dark humour, with a few addresses to camera by Paul, who steps out of the character and joins the viewer on occasion. Absolutely marvellous.
However, it cannot be forgotten that the performances all round are simply outstanding. Each actor plays their part to perfection, and hats off to all - the victims were especially convincingly terrified, and the perpetrators frighteningly cool.
Haneke, the director, delivered a masterpiece with this. It's not conventional, doesn't end traditionally, and makes superb use of direction to construct an honestly masterful affair.
Highly recommended, but it should be noted it's not for everyone.
This is one of those I nearly didn't watch (I thought it would be
pseudo-intellectual drivel about the evil nature of video games) - I'm
very glad I got over myself and finally did watch it one day. What an
amazingly done film! I've never seen such great acting in a German
language movie (the film is Austrian - just to be precise); the script
is full of surprises and the whole film has a tightness that is very
rare; every little detail is in the right place.
Michael Haneke always likes to challenge his audience, but even among his more controversial films 'Funny Games' stands out. The story follows the logic of a nightmare; uneasy tension gives way to unreal horror as you stare in disbelief at what's happening on screen. This is one of the most gripping films about the dark side of human nature I have ever seen; pure cinematic entertainment and yet it goes beyond that (and stays with you long after you've finished watching). A masterpiece 10 stars out of 10.
Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/
Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A family is terrorized by two psychos in an isolated vacation house.
That's the whole plot. The movie is sick, degrading and sadistic
(people walked out when I saw it)--but it won't leave me. I saw it a
few years ago and I still can't shake it. It is well-directed and
extremely well-acted and it is horrifying. My guess is that it's trying
to show how madness and evil can show up anywhere at any time and how
any one can be destroyed. But there's one aspect of this film I HATE.
One of the killers keeps turning to the audience and making comments
like, "You want to see more, don't you?" It seems it's implicating the
audience and pointing out that they are just as responsible as the
killers for these people being degarded and tortured. In other words
we're guilty of watching this. I don't buy that for one second. If
that's true, what does that make the director who directed this? He
made this violent sick movie...but that's OK? He's clean because he's
not watching? That's bull. Also, when one of the killers is shot and
(hopefully) killed the other REWINDS the movie to save him! That's
cheating and a pretty dumb device.
Still it does stay with you, but do you really want to sit and watch a family being terrorized AND be blamed for it? View at your own risk.
In this cross between Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and A Clockwork
Orange, two insolent young psychopaths torment a vacationing family.
It was hard to organize my thoughts on this movie, never mind rating it. As a thriller, this is a tense, well-acted, and relentless experience, marred only by a contrived sequence two-thirds through in which characters behave in unbelievably stupid fashion. However, said sequence is preceded by an incredibly effective ten-minute take. Unusually lengthy takes are often deemed self-indulgent, but this one is anything but.
As an ideological statement, though, this film is a failure. And there is no doubt that writer-director Michael Haneke is trying to make a statement. By having one of the psychos address the camera a few times, saying things to the effect that they have to give the viewers their money's worth, Haneke is essentially wagging his finger at anyone who has ever enjoyed the portrayal of violence in a film. This theme is certainly open to debate, but the problem is that Haneke expresses it in such a condescending way. His harrowing treatment of violence already serves as an excellent counterpoint to other films that glamorize it. There was no need to then leave viewers feeling as though they'd just been lectured by a stern parent.
The last time a filmmaker made me angry, it was when I saw Independence Day, and it was for the same reason. In both cases, the writer and the director display contempt by assuming their audiences are idiots. My anger didn't really ignite, though, until I watched a short interview with Haneke on the DVD. It made me never want to see another one of his films. The man is disgustingly full of himself.
So why the relatively high rating? Because as pretentious and self-important as Haneke is, he is also very talented. The movie is very effective on an emotional level, and it's possible to watch it while ignoring the director's wrong-headed decisions.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Funny Games was certainly thought-provoking. Haneke seems to have
enough knowledge of film to infuse this movie (and most of his films to
be honest) with a whole range of plays on established conventions
within the thriller genre. And these on the whole worked quite well. I
found the intellectual argument he puts forward less convincing though.
It appears his view is that we are all advocates of violence. The 'rewind' scene sets up the conventional retribution that normally proceeds the kidnap and torture sequences (see Straw Dogs etc). He doesn't allow us that outlet however, although he draws attention to it, thereby allowing us to examine that desire further. And the conclusion, one can draw. Yes, we call for acts of wanton violence to be administered upon arbiters of violent acts. There is a further link, I feel, he is trying to make from this position and that is this desire to see violence administered is somehow responsible for the violent world we live in. (There is, of course, another line of argument running through the film about the true visceral nature of violence but that's for another post)
I don't feel this is credible however. When a cinema audience calls for blood in a movie, I feel it is from a position of being completely aware that the narrative they are viewing is an artifice. People aren't going to be really killed. Hence, they can observe the violence being carried out in a 'comic' manner (bad guys getting shot in Westerns without a bullet hole appearing etc) and not have their disbelief in the fantasy world of the film suspended. This isn't misleading I feel, and doesn't inure people to the reality of how brutal and ugly real violence is. After all if one takes that approach then one can argue that Tom and Jerry cartoons suffer from the same problem.
I think where he may have a point, is in the manipulation of actual real-life events to make them less unsettling to an audience. I'm thinking of the Western news reports of Iraq, where disturbing footage of atrocities are cut so the Western viewer doesn't become upset or disturbed about what they're watching. This DOES desensitise the viewer to what war is about because the fact/fiction boundary has been crossed and we can't fall back on the intellectual safety nets I talked about earlier. And why is that a bad thing? Because our government is committing these acts and we have a duty to see the full horror of what they are doing in our name.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A little over a month ago, I saw a film called "Devil". In it, a group
of people are stuck in an elevator that has come to a dead stop,
presumably because the presence of the devil is in with them.
Throughout the movie, the people act dumb and just stand there
wondering what to do, as opposed to actually doing anything, getting
slaughtered one by one. They just START to act towards the end, and
that's mainly when we find out who the Devil in question is.
If you're following me, you should have a similar idea of what Funny Games is like.
A family of 3 go on vacation to a nearby lake. They're a perfectly happy family, or so it seems. That is until the backstreet boys... whoops, I mean two boys visit them and they're all nice. Apparently the ma has had enough of them, and even getting the pop to remove them won't work. How do they respond? Whacking him in the leg. WITH A GOLF CLUB.
The dad COULD respond by fighting back. Instead, he just moans and groans and hugs his leg because he's so scared he's going to get killed by the evil golf club of doom. I will also point out that there are 2 bags worth of golf clubs, but the wife is dumb enough not to GRAB ONE AND USE IT AS DEFENSE.
Throughout all this pointless time of fourth wall breaking and pretentiousness, the family could be responding by fighting back, but no, all they can do is weep and moan at the evil golf club of doom. The wife is forced to strip down and the son is blasted away with a shot gun, all because they couldn't do anything to defend themselves.
Oh, but then the two creeps leave for a short period of time. Good, they can do something to defend themselves, right? Like, grab one of the kitchen knives, create a barricade,or best of all, GET IN THE CAR AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE, right? No. NO. Capital N, Capital O.
Instead they spend what seems like an hour blowdrying a phone. When they can use it, instead of saying something like "911, police!!! Two crazy teenagers are invading our home!!! Please get to (address) as soon as possible!!!", they spend what seems like an eternity shouting "HELLO???? HELLO????" into the phone. And because of it, when the two psychos come back, it's back to the game.
Oh, I will give the mom credit for manning up and grabbing the gun!!! Oh wait, she only shot one of them and because she apparently, for unknown reasons to the viewer, can't shoot the other, the other grabs a remote and rewinds it. I KID YOU NOT.
I could go on and on, but I'm just getting angry about it. I, for once, am getting tired of movies where a group of people is terrorized and they aren't smart enough to defend themselves. Apparently this was the intention of Haneke, as he usually beats his viewer over the head with the theme because we're too dumb and can only watch a simplified story. Either way, avoid this trash. The only thing more terrifying than two teenage boys terrorizing a family with a golf club is a house full of morons who aren't smart enough to defend themselves.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This supposedly shocking, humorless and grim thriller is about an
affluent couple (Susanne Lothar and Ulrich Muhe) and their young son,
whose attempt at a peaceful retreat is turned into a nightmare. While
vacationing at a remote and (so they think) ultra-secure lakeside home,
the family is tormented by two clean-cut young men who initially stop
by to borrow a few eggs, then won't leave. They try to provoke
violence, break the dad's leg with a golf club, kill their dog, make
the mother strip and lie about being gay, having horrible childhoods
and being drug addicts for a motive (although it's made quite clear
that they don't have or necessarily need one). When asked why, one says
"Why not?" and it's all for "entertainment value."
The commentary here, I suppose, is to illustrate that society is often pointlessly brutal and sadistic, and there's no real way to pinpoint an exact cause for the increasing violence in the world. Apparently the director is also doing some finger pointing of his own toward audiences who enjoy lapping up simulated violence in their popular entertainment, as well as those who tune into the nightly news to get the scoop on all the real-life horror stories taking place. In taking on this kind of material, Haneke creates the exact kind of film he is demonizing, which will make this a tough sell to certain people. Who doesn't look at the car accident site while they're passing by hoping to see what happened to the poor sucker involved in the wreck? Who doesn't see a violent scenario playing out in a film or on a TV show and stop to take a look? Most of us do... In my estimation, it's completely natural and healthy to fill one's morbid curiosity about the darker aspects of life and death via film, art and music. I'm not entirely sure what the point is in making us feel bad or guilty about it. If the director is simply wondering why violence and horror are so appealing to the masses, then his film completely lacks any insight, depth or psychological credibility when it comes to that topic.
There's some flashy direction, but unfortunately, a lot of it just doesn't work... like long, unbroken takes that seem to go on for hours and a character who talks to the camera ("Is that enough?") and then grabs a remote and rewinds the movie after something doesn't go his way. This was an official selection at Cannes and has a fan following, but I found it unpleasant, pretentious and downright boring at times, and it's nothing that numerous other films didn't already do (and do better) in the early 1970s.
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