16 May 2005 | jasongrimshaw
Disturbing, Stunning, Daring and Dark
Michael Haneke the austere Austrian director of such critically acclaimed films as "Funny Games", "Code Unknown" and "The Piano Teacher" has created in "Caché" (Hidden) his finest film to date.
Starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche the film is a taut and tense personal thriller, which examines important subjects such as guilt and responsibility in the context of western comfort.
Georges and Anne are a happily married middle class couple who both work in the arts. The balance of their lives is suddenly disturbed when they begin to receive video cassettes seemingly surveying the exterior of their home. Anne is quite dismissive of the tape but immediately Georges believes there is a sinister element to the tape. Soon they receive more tapes and disturbing drawings. As Georges fears for the safety of his family he suddenly has to confront his past and allow his wife to learn the hidden secrets of his past.
Haneke's film plays on one level like a common thriller, but it has much deeper psychological echoes as the "hero" George is revealed not to be quite the upstanding family man his family believed him to be. As his wife struggles to come to terms with the revelations their entire comfortable existence disintegrates.
Haneke is not just interested in creating a thriller however and the auteur expertly dissects George and Annes bourgeois life and implicates them both in the treatment by western culture of the east and the third world.
Acting in the film is terrific. Daniel Auteuil is simply excellent in his role, the actor manages to explore his character enough to make us forget it is a portrayal. Juliette Binoche as his wife initially seems not to be at the center of the film, but the stunning actress manages to place herself at the emotional center of the film as the wife and mother.
Expert supporting roles are provided by Maurice Benichiou, Annie Girardot and Nathalie Richard among others.
"Caché" is at once an intriguing thriller and a wonderful examination of guilt and responsibility in a very modern context.