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Reviews & Ratings for
Michael More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A convincing portrait of evil as the absence of empathy

7/10
Author: paul2001sw-1 (paul2001sw@yahoo.co.uk) from Saffron Walden, UK
4 January 2016

Loosely based on a horrific true story of an Austrian man who kept a girl in his cellar for the best part of two decades, 'Michael' is a film I avoided watching for a long time in part because I feared it would simply prove too unpleasant. In fact, it's watchable and (mostly) understated: its (fictional) villain less a pure monster, more just an isolated person who decides to set up their own life the way they want to, and to keep a child as one would keep a pet. Even then, his incapacity for emotion (towards the child, or indeed, for anybody else) is striking, which partly explains his appalling actions. I don't know how the details of this story reflect on the actual tale; but it seems a believable portrait of how someone could come to act in this way. The film is low budget: some of the scenes may be shot as they are to save filming them more expensively, although the advantage is that the audience is encouraged to concentrate on what matters, not some lush background. The ending is premature disappointing dramatically but what's more interesting is how much I cared to see what happened next: 'Michael' might not literally be docu-drama, but it convinces as a portrait of evil as the absence of empathy.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant and heartbreaking

8/10
Author: rioplaydrum from United States
25 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are perhaps two movies a year that keep me from breathing or blinking for and hour and a half, and I just found one of them.

'Michael' by Markus Schleinzer is a masterpiece and a testament to how the greatest of evil can hide in broad daylight.

Michael is smart and articulate. He is neat and clean. He irons his own shirts and maintains a house more sterile than a hospital. And he kidnaps young boys and locks them in his basement.

There are no graphic scenes of his sexual attacks on 10-year old Wolfgang (thank God), but the subtlety of how they are presented doesn't reduce the horror of it.

Of course we already know Michael is evil, the first scene of him carefully washing his penis in the bathroom sink after leaving Wolfgang's room filled me with rage.

In another, Michael reclines on Wolfgang's tiny bed and begins to lightly fondle himself and then quietly commands the boy who is already cowering to 'come over'.

Michael orders Wolfgang around like a dog. He mostly speaks to the young lad with contempt, but does attempt at times to be friendly and fatherly. But even then it is disgustingly shallow.

Michael eventually promises Wolfgang a playmate as he installs a bunk bed in the room, and then we get to observe Michael 'on the hunt' for another boy at a go-cart rink. He finds one, but as they walk together to Michael's car, the boy's father shows up just in the nick of time.

This is the only sigh of relief you will get in this dreadful story.

After Michael dies in a car accident, the movie painfully plods through his funeral, and several days of Michael's otherwise loving family as they sort out the details of his house and property.

All one can do at this point in the film is scream, "What about Michael???" IS HE STILL ALIVE?

It will keep you on the edge of your seat for an evening and on your mind for days.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

an insurance clerk holds a ten year old boy captive in his basement

10/10
Author: eyevacation from United Kingdom
4 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This made me feel very uncomfortable at times but I was riveted until the final credits.

The most disturbing thing about it is how the film seems to be able to make me as a viewer come close to identifying with this monstrous person. I think it does this by creating a cold and distant, even sterile production, with undramatic and bland lighting, detailed sound and repressed, understated acting. By the time we get to that truly awful funeral service everything is so hollow, that the realistic look of the film is actually more like a nightmare and it's almost like looking at the worst kind of pornography.

And that irritatingly sunny version of "Sunny" (shouldn't it be "Sonny" as in Sonny and Cher?) is still going round in my head.

I also wonder if it's a coincidence that the title is "Michael" when it looks so much like a Michael Haneke film?

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A really bleak and sad film

6/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
10 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Michael" is a 95-minute film from Austria and as it was made in 2011, it has its 5th anniversary this year and of course it is in German language The writer and director is Markus Schleinzer, who is known for working as a casting on more than a few prestigious projects such as "Das weiße Band". And this film we have here is his only effort as writer and director so far, but honestly it really makes me (and audiences hope) that he will do more in the future as the man in charge behind the camera. It is the story of a man in his 30s who is a pedophile and locks a boy in his basement. But it is an entirely different work than "Room" for example. If you know a bit about Austrian film, you may recognize lead actor Michael Fuith or other cast members and you will also know that the films this country produces usually have very dark humor, but of course the subject here is not fitting at all for such an approach. It is a tragic movie, not a tragicomic one. Everybody who you see in here (or almost everybody) gives us a reason to feel sorry for him, most of all the title character who is a very sick and ill man and he is not doing what he does because of sadist reasons or anything but because he is a victim of his sexuality.

There was a moment here and there when I felt the film dragged and honestly I did not find too many of the supporting characters really interesting, but Schleinzer's vision and Fuith's performance make it very much worth checking out. This is a film that is bold and fearless for the most part and it is certainly quite a challenge to make a movie on a subject like this and still succeed in a way that I can describe it as I just did. I also felt that the run time of slightly over 90 minutes was fairly perfect, not too long, not too short and the makers definitely succeeded with the story they wanted to tell us. It was a very authentic watch and it almost felt like a documentary at times, even if we find out about the darkest secrets of course. I give "Michael" a thumbs-up and this film is for sure another example of how strong Austrian cinema is right now, actually has been for a long time. Go see it if you can deal with the difficult subject of the plot here. A rewarding watch for sure.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A Coldly Observant Film with A Chilly, Amoral Protagonist

8/10
Author: museumofdave from Paradise, California
17 February 2013

There are a good many evil villains in film today; in fantasy, action and sci-fi epics, there's usually someone who is hateful and despicable and sometimes more interesting than the hero. In this film, the main character is unregenerate, committed to his quiet destruction of innocence and portrayed without judgement; it is up to us to judge him, and the verdict doesn't take long. This is a chilly portrait of a child molester at home, with his boy locked up in the cellar, and it is not a pretty film in any way, although powerful and well-made. Michael goes about his daily business, unsuspected by his office mates, and even given advancement by his boss. Then he goes home with some groceries and makes dinner for two, followed by despicable acts graphically hinted at. If this doesn't sound like something you would be entertained by, you may want to pass on it; the subject is ripe for sensationalism, but its execution is quietly observant and methodical.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

disturbing but i'm glad i watched this movie

8/10
Author: boneyfido from washington dc
21 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a movie about a pedophile who keeps his 10 year old victim in the basement, locked up all day. I watched it on netflix, at first, because of the description, I thought that Wolfgang was a ten year old dog. When I realized that it was a small child I was hooked and wanted to know what happened.

The movie goes slowly, but I was truly amazed that pedos, who steal children, apparently all use the same line, whether in America or Austria, telling the child that his parents don't want him.

Both the role of the pedophile and the child are played by outstanding actors, I was relieved when the child was saved, and pleased, very pleased at the way the pedo ended up. Horrible things happen everyday to children, in Austria, in the US...interesting that the techniques these people use are so precisely similar. If these people don't kill themselves I believe that the state should if they are found out and convicted. We have no idea how to fix them and the child featured in the movie, MY NAME IS STEVEN never got over the horrors that were inflicted on him. If we knew how to fix them I might feel differently, but but I doubt it, I would prefer helping the children figure out how to get on with lives and grow...my tax dollars going for the defense of the pedophile, or for the meals, the cot and the health care of the pedophile in jail just inflames my sense of justice.

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3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Artsy Pedophile Film Bores Rather Than Informs

3/10
Author: drpakmanrains from United States
24 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just watched this film on Netflix today, which predicted I would like it. I didn't. First, the pacing is painfully slow, with long stares by the characters which reveal little at best. Second, the boy, who is kept locked up for hours or days at a time, often in the dark, looks far healthier and well groomed than i would have expected. Third, there is no attempt to show how he managed to kidnap the boy, other than showing a failed attempt at getting a playmate (I assume for both of them). I didn't know that the director was associated with Michael Haneke, an art-house and critics favorite, but having seen "Funny Games", I can see why such a film as this might be made. That film was repellent, but at least in place of seeing the desired revenge, Haneke played a trick on the audience to intentionally deprive them of catharsis or satisfaction. This one does the same, but without any ploy. And don't be fooled into thinking we really learn much about what causes pedophilia. The film may look intellectual, but it only scratches the surface. It avoids cheap titillation, but replaces it with boredom and superficiality. Beware of the many positive reviews, as I am confident mainstream audiences will be totally turned off.

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12 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Possibly the most predictable ending to a film ever

7/10
Author: stuartvanlinden from United Kingdom
9 June 2012

OK, that's a very accusatory title to put to a review of a film, but I don't think that I have ever been so sure about how a film would end than I was during the closing 20 minutes of "Michael". That is not to say that I don't think that the film should have ended the way that it did, it's just that I was so sure of what the final frames would consist of. I was absolutely spot on. "Michael" is a very well made film, for sure, but if you're expecting anything anywhere near as ambiguous or intelligent as even the weakest Haneke film, prepare for a disappointment. I do look forward to seeing what Markus Schleinzer does next as he clearly has a talent for directing films with a disturbing subject matter, but if he has a masterpiece within him, "Michael" certainly isn't it.

Decent film, but must try harder to achieve greatness.

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1 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Extremely disturbing

1/10
Author: dianataylorlondon from London, Englsand
17 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I hesitate to ask why this film was ever made, the subject matter is abhorrent, why the people that financed this film thought it a good idea I cannot imagine, so disturbed by it that I recommend that you shouldn't watch.

The ending following the principles death in a car crash after the abducted child scalds him with a kettle of boiling water, the subsequent funeral and the mother and sibling clearing his house and opening the cell door to be wondering had the child survived or starved to death as happened in the notorious Belgian case is beyond sick, to be left hanging after such distressing viewing leaves one to conclude that the script was written by someone of highly questionable moral standards indeed... Rarely have a film that I think not only should never have been made but this deserves banning...

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13 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Review from another filmmaker

3/10
Author: ynoel-2 from Spain
6 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having just seen the film 'Michael', what so say? For one, it is clear one has to try and see it from a purely objective point of view, and try to forget that this film reinstates stupid medieval superstitions about human child- eating monsters, and calls upon our most basic instincts: the instincts created by media that has us believe that dark lonely beings are the most immediate threat to our children - and not the parents that regularly kill about 300 times as much as any external criminals, or indeed simple cash crashes, that kill about 500 times as many per year. Watching this film felt like being taken for as exploitative ride about the death of children in car crashes. It was like watching a films about how smelly black people are, shown to a Mississippi white audience in the 1930's, or showing a film about the evil of Jews to a group of neo-Nazis. Superficial, false, and totally stereotypical. However, forgetting about this aspects, and being objective, what was the film like? It is well made, has artistic homogeneity, and has consistent mood creation. It also has good acting. Otherwise, trying to be objective still, the film was stupid, pointless, exploitative, highly pretentious, and predictable. (I also founds it shameful, but that is a personal idea). We are a long, long way from any masterpiece which being entered in competition in the Cannes festival supposes. (A quick look shows up that the director is a friend of Michael Heneke, the 'enfant chéri' of the Cannes film festival if there ever was one). The film is completely stupid... though I'm not sure I can explain that one so clearly. Like a stupid person, it goes nowhere, does nothing, and worst of all, thinks it is intelligent. Every human emotion in the film is another reason for censorship in this film, which consistently cuts before anything gets too explained or too 'deep', as though it were 'cool' or profound to do so. This, I imagine, for the director, would be called 'style', in actual fact it is just plain stupid. It is utterly pointless, because despite its desperate attempt to seem 'deep' about something, it says nothing at all or about individuals, about society, or anything else for that matter, other than the closed mind of an unlikely psychopath who tortures children and kills cats. And it doesn't even make the effort to try and explain the psychopath! Some watching the film may feel there is something going on beyond their understanding. There isn't. It is little more than an ego trip taken by the director down an emotionally exploitative route, having not found a better way to grasp people's attention than usual the most crass and cheap means: a perverted pedophile mentally and physically torturing his defenseless child victim over 90 minutes. It doesn't matter how much you cover the cheap and easy theme with pseudo 'style', it remains as exploitative of our basic instincts as making a film about 20 different ways of slowly ripping the wings off a butterfly. The pretentiousness, is, above every else, not to be believed. It can only be understood maybe by the fact this is the director's first film. It is a cold and distant style we have seen from German cinema for decades now, and much better done than him. No it is not 'cool' anymore to take such emotional distance from everything, it is stupid, and a waste of a film. The experiment is over, try something new. Maybe I watch too many films but from the very start I heard myself saying 'please don't let him use the grotesque image of him spending a lonely sad Christmas with the boy'. And ...he did! No, worse, he had then singing carols! Please don't let this become a 'vengeance' story, and it did! (it was simply a basic story of how the boy took revenge on the evil man in the end). Well, that and about 10 other predictable events. From about half way through I knew he would finish the film JUST as his crimes are discovered, and leave us dangling. I just didn't know if he would be alive at that time, or if he died in a car crash. That ending the director might call 'mysterious', or something deep the audience should think about for weeks after seeing the film, when in actual fact it is simply ...stupid. But this film fits in well into such festivals. It is well made. That is enough to put any friends of yours in the biggest festival in the world. There are PLENTY, I mean plenty of much worse films than this one that take an incomprehensible precedence over others. That's how fickle the market is.

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