Monday, June 30, 2008

Funny Games (2008) dir. Michael Haneke

Funny Games (2008) is a movie you are either going to love or hate.

Personally I fucking hated this movie. I was so pissed off after watching it that it took me the rest of evening to not be pissed off. The original might be better but it will take a miracle for me to watch it.

I'm not even particularly sure why I hated this movie so much. It should have been a movie I enjoyed: a taut psychological thriller, a twisted home invasion, a turn of the camera on the viewer, holding up a mirror to show the audience that it's as blood thirsty and psychotic as the home invaders, dark humour, and a scathing denouncement of the fantasy life that the idle wealthy live. Perhaps Haneke's Funny Games (1998) hit these marks but his adaptation for the American Art House market failed miserably. For every moment that worked there were several that didn't. (2008) begins well enough and the pace works. There's an early moment of Watts in her Pottery Barn weekend country house kitchen, preparing dinner, chatting on the phone that is very well done. The sense of dread, of impending doom is excellent and there is no jump scare to spoil it. In fact I was enjoying the movie up until the home invasion really kicks in. Then it becomes a smug, smirking, self conscious, pretentious, and predictable let down.

Part of my anger was directed at everyone in the movie. The bad guys were a leering pair of Patrick Bateman knock offs. The family were useless upper class twats. They waste time trying to use their cell phone. The list of aggravations goes on.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this movie if it had come out in the days of Man Bites Dog. One critic called Funny Games (2008), "Funny Games is an art house Hostel -- it mistakes self-consciousness for intelligence." Personally I think David Edelstein's review makes the most sense to me.

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