Saturday 18 July 2009

Funny Games [1997]

Funny Games might not be Austrian director Michael Haneke’s best movie, but it sure as hell is the one he will be remembered by. The skeleton of the plot might sound overtly conventional – a family, while on vacation at their idyllic retreat, is taken hostage by a pair of sweet-talking, albeit mercilessly sadistic sociopaths; nonetheless, it doesn’t take long for one to realize that this is as far removed from the assembly-line of popcorn psycho thrillers (particularly the American ones) as can be. It is a vicious body blow to our pop culture, our mass media, and in turn our lives, violence has become a daily diet of which – a theme earlier propounded by Oliver Stone in his equally notorious Natural Born Killers. The acting is very good throughout, not just of the couple (the role of the husband has been played by the brilliant Ulrich Mühe of The Lives of Others fame), but also of the two young guys whose outwardly normal dispositions and their seemingly not having any reason for inflicting the kind of mayhem that they do, have made their characters chilling personifications of evil. However, I must finish with the statement that, despite the movie’s cult fame, it could have been far more effective had it slightly cut down on the pretentiousness front – the ‘rewind’ scene, the talking to the camera and the deeply ambiguous ending are a bit of a turnoff.

Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Psychological Horror
Language: German
Country: Austria


Bhargav Saikia said...

Have you seen Thank You For Smoking?

Shubhajit said...

Yup, I have. Its a nice fun movie.