Archive for January, 2011

FUNNY GAMES, Michael Haneke (2007)

Posted in Horror, Thriller with tags , , , , on January 23, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Ten years after the original movie was released, Michael Haneke directed an American remake of his own story,  so accurately adapted that almost every sequence is exactly identical, changing just the actors and the spoken language. I’d never heard of such thing before and to say the least, seems a very original idea.  Actual reasons to do so are not so clear to me, if you have the original, why do you deliver an exact replica of it? Is it a question of money, popularity, or is it that Hollywood industry bought the idea and Haneke was so proud he didn’t feel like someone could ruin the story?

Anyway, it’s obvious the fact that Naomi Watts or Tim Roth are two appealing actors which contribute to attract the audience to enjoy, or suffer, almost two hours of anguish and tension.

Funny Games might not be considered a horror movie, as it’s not properly scary, nevertheless the atmosphere created from second one is absolutely terrifying. It’s more psychological horror, and sometimes, this can be more panicking and disturbing for the audience.

A young high established family from New York is about to spend a week or two in their idyllic and remote cottage by a beautiful lake, however all the peace and quietness suddenly vanish thanks to the visit from two unknown and well-mannered young boys, which apparently are their neighbors’ guests. Paul and Peter will humiliate the three members of the family just for their pleasure with fatal consequences.

I find Funny Games as the name of the film quite smart. No matter whether violence is involved or the lives of the family walk the tightrope, Paul and Peter, or Beavis and Butthead, are playing games just for their own amusement, they find humiliation, pain and death funny, and cannot stop screwing people.

It’s fascinating the way this film just shows how weak and helpless life can become in a matter of seconds, and the way anyone can ruin lives anytime, anywhere. Why? Haneke leaves conclusions totally up to you, open to your imagination, as there are many possible reasons.

The treatment of the characters is very interesting here. On one hand we have the family, formed by Anne (Naomi Watts), George (Tim Roth) and little Georgie. Seems that George as head of the family, or the captain in charge, is going to react at some point in order for his family to survive, however, as time goes by, you end up reckoning the strongest character is no doubt Anne, more protective and fighting.

On the other hand we find the two fascinating and disturbing young psychopaths: Peter and Paul (Michael Pitt). You are never certain on anything regarding them, as they are constantly changing their mood, some stories they tell…I particularly enjoy the polite manners they show, and how they interpret the fear of the family as a complete lack of respect. Somehow Paul reminds me of Patrick Bateman a lot, well mannered, with spotless appearance but a total son of a bitch who enjoys seeing people suffering.

Not really acquainted with Haneke’s work, and  focusing basically on The Pianist and Funny Games, I dare to say he’s got a taste for the dark side of the human condition, in a so called bizarre way. Characters are extreme and involve average and current ones into their madness, ruining their lives forever. Interesting, isn’t it?

Therefore, Funny Games is not the typical film I would recommend although I enjoyed it a lot, you must have some guts to stand uneasy situations, otherwise you’ll end up in very bad mood. Once this said, if you finally decide to watch it, hope you enjoy.