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This is not so much a movie as it is about the experience of watching
movies and what it says about our fears and desires. There are two
basic reasons for watching a movie from the classic "home invasion"
genre. One is to be entertained and the other is to somehow rid
ourselves of our fears by facing them in a low risk way. In both cases
it is the director who is piling the "funny games" on us, with our
Notice that the poster for this movie shows a frightening image reflected in an eye. It is as though that eye is a window into the inner psyche and that the camera is peering into our fears.
In the case of entertainment, this can only work if we are so scared out of our wits that we forget whatever else was worrying us in our everyday life and thereby see it in perspective. There are however conventions that are required for making this work. The source of the fear [ie. the bad guys] must get what's coming to them and there must be a happy ending. Notice your reaction when you get neither. The remote trick pulls back the satisfaction of revenge and the ending makes it clear that the fear not only hasn't gone away but instead must be relived again and again!
Arno Frisch [the skinny bad guy] can be viewed as the director who periodically peers at us thru the camera, smirks and reminds us that we are watching a movie, and reveals to us the funny games that he and other directors play on us at our insistence.
I'd just watched Haneke's "The Seventh Continent" and was excited at the
thought that I'd found another great director whose work I could trust.
[You see... I have this big thing about not wasting time on lousy films;
when I walk out of a stinker, I never feel like I want my money back... I
want the two hours of my life back.] I'm still in shock over "Funny Games."
How could Haneke have made these two films? One of them must be a fluke.
Either he was momentarily touched with genius in making "The Seventh
Continent" and is, in reality, an incompetent idiot or "Funny Games" was the
nadir of a great auteur's career. Was he forced to shoot this turd by a
demanding studio? Was it a lame attempt to sell out? And, no, it does not
work on any level... not as satire, not as thriller/horror flick, not as
kitsch, not as "the joke's on you"... niente. The games are neither funny,
nor elaborate, nor believable, nor gripping, nor horrifying, nor
interesting. Aside from the opening credits, when the classical music is
suddenly replaced by death metal (a truly brilliant moment), this film has
nothing going for it. The industry has been churning out this kind of junk
since "Lady in a Cage" (which does it far better, as a note.) I have a
feeling that Haneke would (dubiously attempt to) claim that this movie was,
indeed, farcical and not genuinely "in genre." As Brecht pointed out,
knowingly-conceived kitsch is not art; to that, I would add this: "When you
'spoof', you must not only outdo the original but must display a high level
of creativity, as you have a template off of which to work." In that sense,
even "Scary Movie" does a better job at spoofing the horror/suspense genre,
and that's saying a lot about the low quality of "Funny
A big, fat 0/10. Hang your head in shame, Michael Haneke. Not Bergman, nor Kurosawa, nor Truffaut... not even the overly prolific Godard ever put out a turd like this. You've ruined your legacy. You coulda been a contenda...
Mr. Matthew Wilder wrote on his comentary about the film Funny Games: "the only time we consume torture and protracted murder as entertainment is in recondite European art films like I STAND ALONE, MAN BITES DOG, and FUNNY GAMES." I add: and in CNN news on september 11 incident, X ray camp procedures, Israeli X Palestinians conflict, Afganistan civilian bombing etc.
While tastes do differ I get quite upset by the many uninformed statements
that have been made on this.
First: this is not a german film and neither the actors nor Hanneke are german.
Second: If people accuse Hanneke of fascism or for selling crap as high art they simply don't know what they're talking about. "Funny Games" is in line with all other films Hanneke has made. One does not have to like this film, but every one who knows Hanneke's work knows that he is not going for simple shock effects to attract a big audience. Hanneke is an artist who has on obsession with certain themes. All his films center about isolation, lack of communication, voyeurism and violence. In "Funny Games" the latter two are the important ones.
Any my personal opinion: a masterpiece.
I was looking forward to watching 'Funny Games' as I'm interested in movies
about violence (pro- and anti-), and I generally think European film makers
handle sex, violence and disturbing imagery in a more intelligent and
complex way than the increasingly more cowardly American movie industry.
Well, I was wrong. 'Funny Games' is just as trite as any Hollywood popcorn
fodder, and to make matters worse, is supposedly some kind of BIG STATEMENT
about violence and the media. I say "supposedly" because it says nothing new
or original on the subject. As a criticism of screen violence and
voyeuristic audiences it fails, and as a thriller or horror movie it fails
also. There is absolutely no suspense, no empathy for the uninteresting
victims, no depth to the cliched psychopaths, no real on screen violence or
torture to speak of, and way too many dull patches. I also thought the one
or two Brechtian moments where "Paul" talks to the audience were gimmicky
and redundant, and the less said about the ridiculous "remote control scene"
Don't waste your time with this over-hyped garbage.
I must say that I like this film alot. Not because of the qualities of the
movie, but rather for the way the director keeps challenging the audience.
Will the family survive? Will the kidnappers fail this time. Will they
But the thing is this isn't a film for the audience, but rather it is a film against the audience and our opinions.
See it, but don't see it as an entertainment movie. Rather it is a wake up call for the audience. How do we see violence in the movies? It ain't fun.
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Dolby Digital
Just over an hour into Michael Haneke's FUNNY GAMES, the tale of a middle-class couple and their son who are held hostage and tormented in their isolated holiday cottage by two young psychopaths, something happens which is *so* appalling, you'll either walk away from the film in abject horror or be completely ensnared by Haneke's audacity. This is a movie which dares to confront its audience with the realistic consequences of a sustained murderous assault whilst refusing to display the act of violence itself. Haneke has said he didn't want to make a film which exploited the hypocrisy of a sensation-hungry audience by wallowing in the kind of on-screen brutality which caused him to make FUNNY GAMES in the first place. In truth, the film relies more on the *threat* of violence than anything else, with the worst horrors depicted off-screen, often just out of camera range. But the resulting trauma - both physical and mental - lingers heavily throughout, with the husband virtually crippled and the wife blasted into a kind of emotional deadness by their nightmarish ordeal. When *that* scene comes around (believe me, you'll know it when you see it), you'll probably begin to understand how she feels.
As much as you may be insulted by Haneke's point of view - his film is an antidote to the sanitised, beautifully choreographed violence of Hollywood movies and the audiences who lap them up - he's certainly got a point. People *do* seek out violent entertainment, while most filmmakers refuse to depict the awful consequences of that violence, thereby distorting our perceptions of it in an increasingly media-saturated, image-dominated society. FUNNY GAMES was first unveiled to shocked audiences at Cannes in 1997, where a huge number of patrons walked out during the screening. Since then, the film has been equally championed and condemned by divided critics who have practically fallen over themselves to warn prospective viewers of its horrific content. So if you seek it out on the strength of these admonitions, then Haneke was right all along. Like slowing down at a traffic accident, very few of us can resist the temptation...
Aside from Haneke's deceptively straightforward approach to the material (his camera remains stationary for the most part and simply observes the action, while a couple of Hitchcockian suspense scenes are deliberately underplayed), much of the film's success is due to the magnificent, Oscar-calibre performances. Whatever else you might think about the production, there's no denying the quiet menace of Arno Frisch as the bland, emotionless killer Paul), the awkward simplicity of Frank Giering as Frisch's demented partner in crime, and the bewildered victim Ulrich Muhe. But the real stand-out is Susanne Lothar as the tortured wife; her dreadful agonies are so utterly convincing, you simply won't believe she's acting! Paradoxically, it's also one of the reasons why FUNNY GAMES is often so unbearable to watch.
See the film, buy the DVD, make up your own mind. Be prepared for the worst and Haneke will reward every expectation...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting a real psychological thriller, this movie just made me
angry and it made me want to kill the victims myself! I hated it! Very
frustrating! What a terrible movie! Firstly, where was the horror or
suspense considering it was meant to be a movie of these genres??
Secondly the acting was so bland and cardboard like I actually couldn't
wait for each character to die or be killed. Not once was I scared or
even remotely thrilled and found the whole way in which the characters
responded totally non plausible...what a wimp the father was ...his son
had more stones.
Is it possible to give this movie negative points? Also the fourth wall breaking was like a desperate act by the director/writer to save what had become a complete mess of a movie.....utter crap!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has in common with other German films from the nineties (Run Lola, run) that it is a tad too childish and unrealistic. I got up and walked out when "Paul" started rewinding the movie after "Anna" had shot his partner with the shotgun. It just gets to silly for grown people to watch this stuff. This is also clear from the voting. Teenage girls votes the film to an average of 9,9. That pretty much says it all. And the quasi-metaphysical mumbo-jumbo talk about what is real, and what is fiction... well, maybe if you are a 15 year old girl who have just discovered the Smiths. Too bad, because the film had potential.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was intrigued by this movie's description and it's reviews both on here and on Netflix. I finally rented it and watched it last night, and have to say it started out very promisingly, with a believable cast of actors and a pretty good story line. HOWEVER - when the first assault on the family occurs (one of the thugs hits dad in the knee with a golf club) no one really fights back. At a couple of spots the eight year old son goes after them, and mom tries once, but most of the time they either try to rationalize with the psychos (which they should have realized was a waste of time after dad got knee-clubbed), whimpering, or sitting and staring. Keep in mind, now, this is a family of three against two guys initially armed with a golf club. A GOLF CLUB!!! Why mom didn't reach over and pull out a mashie niblick of her own to start whaling on the guys is beyond me. And two of the family manage to escape during the movie, only to be caught and brought back by the thugs. First the son escapes and is captured, okay, you could believe that, after all, the kid's only eight; but then (spoiler) after the kid has been shot and killed the thugs tie up the parents and then LEAVE THE HOUSE! Mom and Dad finally get the gumption to get each other unbound and then they sit and try do dry out a wet cell-phone battery to call for help, rather than getting the hell out of there. They are in their summer home on the lake, they have a boat (we saw dad and son getting the boat all rigged up and ship-shape early in the movie) so why didn't they get on the boat and sail away? Perhaps the boat was scuttled by the thugs, you may query. Nope - the boat is in ship-shape condition for the thugs to drag mom (alive and bound and gagged again) onto, sail out on the lake, and push her overboard where we assume she drowns. The real breaking point for me on this movie wasn't the occasional asides the thugs made to the camera, making it seem like there was perhaps a third person involved and they were filming it for their own sick amusement later; but when mom grabs a shotgun and gutshoots one of the thugs and kills him. The other thug screams and starts yelling "where's the remote?" and finds the remote, and (get this) REWINDS the movie to before the shooting. They then re-do the scene so that when mom makes a grab for the rifle she doesn't succeed. So now it's a matter of is this movie a docu-drama, a psychological thriller, or a bit of sci-fi fantasy? I think they really missed a good point there, it should have continued on from the mom killing the one thug (at last they fight back) and the remaining thug carries on without his pal. The rewind thing just turned the whole movie into something unbelievable and ridiculous.
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