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The Real Game In Funny Games Is Between Michael Haneke & Us Viewers!

Author: CinemaClown
27 October 2015

Mercilessly playing with the audience's expectations by giving them their fair share of hope but only to snatch it all away at every available opportunity, and making a critical statement against the violence in media & its desensitising effect on modern society, Funny Games is an entirely different level of brutality unleashed by Michael Haneke on the filmgoing crowd and is one psychological horror that cuts real deep.

The story of Funny Games follows a wealthy Austrian family that arrives at its lake house to enjoy their vacation. But their visit soon turns into a nightmare when two young men, whom they first spotted at their next-door neighbours, takes the family hostage in their own house & torture them for their own amusement by forcing them to play sadistic games with one another but it's unclear what their personal motive here really is.

Written & directed by Michael Haneke (best known for The White Ribbon & Amour), Funny Games presents the esteemed filmmaking playing a cruel game with people who are watching this film as he extends their role from mere observers to hapless bystanders by amplifying the violence as the plot progresses, is extremely aware of what the viewer expects to happen, and turns it around whenever there is the slightest glimmer of hope.

The screenplay is another gem for it doesn't tell much about the characters inhabiting this story, gradually develops the arc of the family members through their suffering at the hands of the two tormentors, creates an eerie ambiance with remarkable simplicity and sustains it really well for the most part. The violence in this film plays no role in the service of its story but exists purely to confront its viewers, as evident in the scene where it breaks the fourth wall to ask the spectators if it's too much.

It's no news that many of us are used to the violence we see in films today & even take great pleasure out of movies that revel in extremity. Here, we only have three people whose fate hangs in balance and through their prolonged torture & sadistic games, this film tries to show what violence actually is all about. What's even more admirable is that most of these gruesome acts take place off the screen, thus allowing the viewers to fill the gaps with their very own imagination which results in greater shock when the aftermath is shown.

The story is wonderfully assisted by its technical aspects, which work together seamlessly to give Haneke the atmosphere he desires. The camera employs a number of long single- take shots to bring an unsettling vibe into those scenes, at which it succeeds. The seemingly isolated location also helps its cause. Pacing is on the slower side yet there isn't one moment in the picture that I would trim out. The real show-stealer however is its splendid cast that delivers truly smashing performances, with Susanne Lohar & Ulrich Mühe impressing the most.

On an overall scale, Funny Games isn't going to be an easy sit for even those who aren't easily affected by on-screen violence and what makes it such an emotionally devastating & sickening experience is the fact that Haneke keeps giving the viewers a reason to root for the suffering family, even allows the narrative to follow a conventional route of its genre but whenever a redeeming moment surfaces, he just pulls the carpet beneath our feet. The real game in Funny Games isn't the one that those two psychotics play with an innocent family, but the one that Haneke is playing with us. And the sad truth about it: he's always one step ahead, here!

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Gripping psychological horror movie

8/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
27 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Funny Games" is an Austrian 110-minute movie from almost 20 years ago. It was written and directed by Michael Haneke and is a prime example of his work, which gives us an insight into the dark abyss of human behavior and, as in many of his other works, there will be no happy ending. It's interesting how Haneke plays with the audience when, at the end, it is mentioned that one of the two is not able to swim and they are on a boat, so maybe will he drown and there will be some comfort at least for the viewer? Nope. But back to the beginning. We have a couple and their son and the two get kidnapped by a duo of psychopaths. After a short introduction, this film is at least 90 minutes of physical and emotional torture. This film is certainly very tough to watch and even if I thought it was a really tense, gripping and well-made work, I have no intention of seeing it anytime soon again.

Haneke worked with some actors here that he has worked with in the past already. For me, it was particularly difficult to watch this movie knowing about the untimely deaths of Mühe, Lothar (Mühe's wife actually) and Giering. Only Arno Frisch is still alive from the core cast. Well.. the child actor is as well, but he is not working in film anymore, has not appeared in a single film in the new millennium. It is not uncommon at all that Haneke's cast does include only a very limited amount of actors and I like that. It helps me focus better on the characters and it is also the case in "Amour" for example, a film I really really loved. It's not really the cast in "Das weiße Band", but also a very good film. "Funny Games" is a movie Haneke made long before these two that got great acclaim also from the Academy Awards in the USA.

Anyway, there are many really interesting aspects in "Funny Games", for example the breaking of the 4th wall on several occasions or the way one character uses a remote to move back in time and make something undone, literally turn back time. This is certainly not a film for everyone and you definitely need strong nerves to sit through it, because it's extremely shocking from start to finish. Still pay attention how you never see anybody dying in front of the camera, even if it is very obvious in all cases. Final note: Haneke made a US version 10 years later. I have not seen that one, but I'd be surprised if it's as good as this one here. The 1997 one has a remarkable script and great acting from the entire cast. Highly recommended.

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Don't believe the positive RVS, they fooled me

1/10
Author: yrmishu from Dhaka, Bangladesh
12 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A movie, I am sitting to watch, time goes, I am wandering what is the objective? Why they don't do this, why they don't do that, why they are not doing something. Illogical, very very illogical. The positive reviews are totally fake I understood whenever I finished the movie. Actually I open my mouth like "O" after watching the finishing, ending. What a climax! Is there any climax happen in the movie? Time waste. My two hours time waste, better to have see through beyond the opened window for two hours. Three members family comes to enjoy their vacation in a rural and serene place. Two innocent boys come to them, then occupy them, then no one defense themselves, no one try to escape after getting time and hole, no one call any police, but just mourn and mourn and feel and see, and take part in games with the two psychopaths. And the ending, WOW what a hollowness ending. If anyone whats to make sequel, the sequels will never be ended.

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Well it wan't funny at all,

6/10
Author: atinder from United Kingdom
5 June 2013

This is my first time watch , I thought it would have been a lot better then it was.

it took me a while to get into the movie and there were really good tense moment here and there movie.

I do feel the movie was little to long for this kinda of movie, there were some scenes that drag for bit to long

I didn't really liked how the story and the movie came to a end.

I really hated the whole re-winding scenes. it's just felt wrong and out of the blue, it didn't fit in well with the rest of the movie

The acting was really good from the whole cast was and Subtitle really well done to.

I going to give this movie a 6 out of 10!

How the remake?

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Well-made, but sick

2/10
Author: wavecat13 from United States
11 March 2015

It is hard to fathom the point of this twisted tale. Surely it can provide some entertainment for sadists, but beyond that? Is there supposed to be some point about outsiders taking out their bitterness on that lynchpin of a mainstream society, the typical nuclear family? Or is it simply a cinema verite tale of sadistic manipulation and violence? Or does the writer-director want to remind us of the persistence of evil, even in the happy domain of bourgeois people on summer vacation? This is a coldly presented, intelligently made horror film that wants to mess with your head and leave you feeling bad about things. The most interesting moment occurs toward the end, when Haneke literally hits the rewind button and denies the audience the satisfaction of seeing one of the psychos get what he deserves. Very clever - but still repulsive.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Arrogant, Manipulative, and Hypocritically Exploitive

1/10
Author: Steve Cook
3 December 2014

Pompous director Michael Haneke chastise viewers for consuming cathartic violent fare, but makes his living peddling it. The sanctimonious Haneke wants to punish the bourgeoisie, casual movie goers, and people who love children and animals. Some how Haneke rationalizes depicting extreme violence as acceptable as means of enriching himself, if it is not depicted "on screen." The tone deaf director conveniently overlooks the fact that film is an audio and visual medium, and by including the sounds of a child being murder in his movie he is no better than the likes of Quentin Tarantino. The pretentious "auteur" doesn't bother to offer us justification as to why catharsis through cinematic violence is wrong. He is too self amused shocking and abusing his audience to formulate an alternative. After all he has made a long successful career in the business of selling violent entertainment. (1/10 Don't bother.)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hanake and his unfair lecture

1/10
Author: westinowich from Denmark
8 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you, as an audiant, are ready to be treated like a child, in a very inappropriate setting for anyone (especially children) - then Funny Games is just what you are looking for. The critique of violence in media today is fair, although Haneke fails to acknowledge what role he himself is acting in this problem.

Funny Games has become an absolute hit in it's genre and has assumingly grown to be more popular than he'd first predicted. Mental, physical, really any form of terror you could imagine, is what this film is bathed in. Hanake is proving a point, that violence in media to day is excessive - that said Hanake is really just pouring gasoline on the bonfire.

A fair bunch of 'Funny Games lovers' (they're bound to exist somewhere) will claim that i don't understand what Funny Games is about - i believe i do - but then again how can i know that i do for sure... I believe that the film in general is misunderstood to be sophisticated when it really is just spoon feeding it's audience with a fairly simple message - wrapped up in some of the most intolerable suffering you as a film lover have had to endure. The cult status of this awful movie forces poor souls like myself to watch it, all just for this review to be justified.

I marked it as containing spoilers, because people who really don't know what they're going to watch when they pick up Funny Games, will think it's a fairly pleasant setting as the movie proceeds through it's short introduction..... From where the agony begins - or should i say "games begin".

1/10 - disgusting movie, nothing less, NOTHING more. I'd have to give it a point for it's sudden fiction-interference - that's a neat detail - won't save the flawful overall performance...

/W

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

the broken clockwork orange

2/10
Author: fraboi87 from Italy
13 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film does not make any sense at all. I finished watching just waiting something happens and when it did what happens? He took the remote and re-winded it: what a bullshit. Some of you might say that it has a meaning in the talks the young men had but not for me.

Apart from a possible meaning everything was bad: the plot was completely unoriginal and unbelievable too (sometimes the parents did not look in a lot of pain after their son died) and as regarding the directions it was nothing special. Plus can you explain why some scenes in which nothing happened lasted forever?

It reminded, in terms of director's intentions, to A clockwork orange (but also as someone said to Natural Born killer) but nothing to do with it. Natural Born Killer which is not one of my favorite movie is much more original and it makes you feel something. This movie is just an ugly rearranged copy of A Clockwork orange but it failed in every aspect. After watching it left me nothing. A total waste of time.

MY ADVICE: DO NOT WATCH IT.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Violence porn about violence porn, still makes it trash.

1/10
Author: gooddog23-713-956844 from United States
26 November 2013

Justify it any way you want, this film only reinforces that we are desensitized to the pornographic celebration of violence.Hopefully it makes people aware of that, but if you already know it, and see how much money is being made by 'Saw',and all of the murder movies, and television shows. Judge by the attitudes of kids who think knocking people out and filming it for Youtube are entertaining after being entertained by the violence-porn industry. We are more separated from compassion, more complacent, and less shocked by the violence around us until we are overwhelmed as more casual violence destroys us more every day. This movie has no redeeming value. i don't care how any reviews here defend this as 'art'. it is not. You don't need to see this movie, OR it's English remake. Hollywood has plenty more to sell you. God help us.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Eraser head move over...Worst date movie ever

Author: raschueller
26 November 2013

Want to get rid of a girl. She just will NOT leave you alone but you are too cowardly to break up with her?

Dinner at Babbo in NYC and then this film... preferably in the reverse order.

At Babbo you can order something called Testa with Pickled Pearls and Thyme Vinaigrette. Which is very simply head cheese. Take a pig head. Boil it. Pick out anything that looks edible and make a jelly out of it. Head cheese. Of course at Babbo you pay 11 dollars for a small slice of jellied pig head and feel grateful for it. In the end. no matter how much you pretty it up. It is still head cheese. Pompus, over-priced, and and in the end... brains, and entrails and crap.

No matter how enlightened you think you because you love this movie... this is endless. Its a film that drags on over the silliest points. Suspense? no. Horror. No. Its just endless talking about nothing. The violence is mindless. The violence is endless.

And yet... there are those who eat the head cheese and roll their eyes and talk about the primal nature of the animal they are consuming and tasting the meaning of a pig.

Just because it is unconventional... just because it is different... does not connote or denote quality.

But it is definitely a candidate for WORST date movie EVER!

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