Critic Reviews



Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
It is not a new direction for this film-maker, admittedly, but an existing direction pursued with the same dazzling inspiration as ever. It is also as gripping as a satanically inspired soap opera, a dynasty of lost souls.
As an austere and darkly comic family drama, and a scathing commentary about the kind of world our children are living in, Happy End is stunning cinema
Rather than smothering the material in bad vibes, the filmmaker uses them to gradually reveal a fascinating world in which anger and resentment becomes the only weapon any of these people know how to wield.
Happy End may be something of a greatest hits mixtape, but it's also an arresting offering.
A major issue is that the characterizations don’t reach very deep and in the absence of a robust context or involving narrative, it’s actually the references to Haneke’s previous films that flesh out what is otherwise a rather perfunctory condemnation of the bourgeoisie equipped with the usual symbolic connotations.
Most good films rely on their audiences to connect the dots a little, but Happy End is all dots, with none of the lines drawn in at all. The meaning is there, but you have to dig for it in the everyday events of a family’s life.
Even admitting that films like Cache (Hidden), The White Ribbon and Amour have raised the bar higher and higher, Happy End feels like it’s pulling its punches and not in their league. For one thing, it’s hard to pin down the theme of the piece.
Haneke’s integration of the ways we communicate and conduct our lives via phone and laptop feels uniquely effective.
Haneke’s magisterial control of tone, actor and shot is not to be underestimated: there are scenes of quiet, nuanced authority and menace here that, true to form, compel our attention with their glacial brilliance.
The director’s game is level, and typically mischievous, but lacks something - and it’s not just the vicious sting at the end of, say, Hidden.

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