Funny Games * * * * 1/2

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Director: Michael Haneke.
Screenplay: Michael Haneke.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Tim Roth, Devon Gearhart.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen Michael Haneke’s 1998 original Austrian version, but then nor did many people, hence the reason he has made an almost scene-for-scene remake. This time hoping to reach it’s target audience.

While spending time at their holiday home, middle-class couple Ann and George Farber (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) and their son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) are visited by a young stranger (Brady Corbet), who seemingly only wants to borrow some eggs. He is then joined by a friend (Michael Pitt) and together they physically and psychologically terrorise the family, giving them until the next day to somehow survive the torment.

Aimed at America and it’s ‘torture porn’ obsession with violence. It also exposes the gaping holes in society and the classes. Despite it containing very little on-screen physical violence, the psychological side to this film is exhaustive and leaves you feeling drained and disturbed. I’m curious as to how the original plays out but can it really be any better than this? This is frayed fingernail stuff with an outstanding performance from Naomi Watts. That gal can emote and expose her frailty better than any actress around at present. To capture a person writhing in pain, look no further than Tim Roth (see also Reservoir Dogs). However, I’ve never entirely been convinced by him in the past, and I’m still not. He seems to try very hard but doesn’t quite cut it for me and is completely outshone by everyone around him here, with Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet putting in astonishingly good shows as the evil young sociopaths. Director Michael Haneke shows the mark of a very fine film-maker at top of his game and confident in his abilities to remake his own film. It may not suit everyone and some people may even find it distasteful but thats the whole point and I for one, absolutely loved it. Sometimes, a film can sneak up on you without you having any preconceived ideas or expectations from it and really make an impact. Of recent times, this along with “Children of Men” is one of those films. I went into it expecting nothing and came out of it with everything.

It’s a deeply disturbing and haunting experience but a riveting and unconventional one, that stays with you long after it’s over.

Mark Walker

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2 Responses to “Funny Games * * * * 1/2”

  1. What I found so creepy was the casualness of the two when they where carrying out their inhumane acts of terror.

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    • Man, this film really affected me. I was in sheer terror throughout it and couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. A disturbing but absolutely film. Cheers Vinnie.

      Like

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