Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.
In this English-language remake of a deconstruction in the way violence is portrayed in the media, a family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood. Written by
According to Naomi Watts, the only suggestion that Michael Haneke accepted from the actors was that Ann got undressed earlier than she did in the original movie. Haneke agreed with Watts that this would make Ann even more vulnerable. See more »
Throughout the movie Paul calls Peter "Tom", and Peter calls Paul "Jerry". These are references to the Tom & Jerry cartoons. They also refer to each other as 'Beavis' and 'Butthead', another cartoon reference. See more »
Whether by knife or whether by gun, losing your life can sometimes be fun.
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I saw this at the London Film Festival and found it to be exactly what I expected: an English-language facsimile by Michael Haneke of his 1997 German film of the same title. Not that this is a bad thing. It is a testament to Haneke's artistic ability to replicate perfectly his previous film shot-by-shot with equal effect, tension, and intrigue even as one knows what to expect--although it might also say something about Haneke's ego that he doesn't feel that he needed to change or add new material for audiences who've already seen the original. The performances are overall well-executed, especially by Naomi Watts, an actress who has proved that she will still take risks despite the fact that she has made it both in the art-house scene and in mainstream Hollywood.
Haneke wanted to replicate the original film for American audiences since he has considered the story closer culturally to American society. That is a noble effort, but I am not sure if it required him to remake an exact replica of one of his earlier works, nor am I sure that it will have quite the impact he wants since the American audiences he is targeting might avoid it all together (as it might be seen as too art-house or extreme) or be completely turned off by its content and artistic approach. Nonetheless, it is interesting to witness as an exercise in a film artist revisiting his earlier work, even if he didn't bother changing anything.
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