Entertaining, Infuriating and very, very sick
The premise is not a thousand miles away from William Wyler's "Desperate Hours" but the distances here are measured in a different way. Michael Heneke the "author" of this horror thriller of sorts is at the service of his vision of himself. He's not the first "author" to suffer from the same malady but here it's so bloody obvious that becomes kind of funny. From the opening credits you know that "pretension" will permeate the whole movie and it does but, the funny thing is that it's riveting. I watched the whole nonsense with my mouth open. That's an achievement, isn't it? I haven't seen the original German version (a blow by blow account directed by Heneke himself)but, I must confess, I think I will, I think I want to. Don't ask me why. This is as empty as anything I've ever seen. A public act of obscenity and yet you can't, you just can't look away. Naomi Watts is terrific as the smart middle class wife and mother that will notice for first that Michael Pitt is not that good an actor. She sees through him - who wouldn't? - pretty much from the start. Michael Pitt plays the creep as a creep with good manners. So on the nose that doesn't manage to be frightening. He is shocking because of what he does but not for what he appears to be. He has no sexual presence. Tim Roth, as the weakling husband is disturbingly convincing and the young actor playing their son is truly wonderful. So here I am, talking about a film I kind of detested with unexpected respect. Michael Heneke may be one of those artists who are extraordinary self promoters, but he's an artist none the less and like real artist often do, divide, confront and provoke. So, did I like "Funny Games"? No. Will I see it again? Absolutely.
- Aug 25, 2009
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