Customer Review

28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone, But a Very Intelligent, Thought-Provoking Movie, April 5, 2009
This review is from: Funny Games (DVD)
If you read film reviews frequently you will occasionally come across the phrase, "this movie indicts the viewer." Never has this phrase been more appropriate than with Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," an Americanized remake of his 1997 film of the same name. Unlike the majority of people who will see this movie, I have not (yet) seen the original and knew little about either version before watching this. I didn't know what to expect when the movie began and, now that it's ended, I don't know what to think.

The basic summary one can give for this film feels simple enough; a nice suburban family consisting of George (Tim Roth), Ann (Naomi Watts), and their young son Georgie are vacationing at their semi-secluded lake house. Minutes after arriving, two young men appear at their house. Soon, they are being held hostage by the two men and are forced to play a series of little games all revolving around a little bet. The two men bet that the family will be dead by 9 a.m. the next morning and the family bets they'll be alive.

Well...something like that. The set-up appears to be just your average set-up for a hostage/slasher movie. But that's not what this film is at all. If you're looking for a horror film or a psychological thriller, start looking elsewhere. "Funny Games" is an indictment of moviegoers who are so accustomed to seeing on-screen violence we're desensitized to everything.

Here is a film where we have two, clean-cut, innocent looking men who just happen to be killers. They have no motive or explanation for what they're doing. We have a typical suburban family who have no idea what's going on and react appropriately and realistically to the situations they're thrown into.

The film absolutely defies convention in every aspect. Not a single thing that occurs in this film is predictable, there's not a single cheap thrill here, and it's really just a brilliant piece of filmmaking. For a critique on the apathetic quality moviegoers have to violence against innocent people, it's brilliant how Haneke allows a film that could have been very violent and gory to have little on-screen violence. To further the indictment of the audience, Michael Pitt's character will talk directly to the camera, making the audience a part of what is going on.

In the hands of a different writer/director this could've become an annoying plot device. Enough about that though, let's discuss one of the most pivotal aspects of the film; the acting.
Watts and Roth are so believable, you do empathize with their characters....These are the kinds of performances where they completely embody who they're playing rather than just playing a character. Pitt and Brady Corbet as the psychotic duo are quietly blood-chilling and wholly believable.

I'm guessing Haneke's goal with his Americanized version is just to present the film to a broader audience but whatever the goal..."Funny Games" is a film that deserves to be viewed, thought about, and discussed. It's not very entertaining, nor is it meant to be, and it's not very satisfying either (once again though, it wasn't meant to be). It's definitely a thinking person's movie, but it's an important film. See it.

GRADE: B+
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 18, 2009 5:48:31 PM PDT
MauricioD says:
""...a thinking person's movie, but it's an important film.." The point of the movie being....?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2010 11:51:09 PM PDT
T. Ching says:
to be entertaining to a certain amount of people. stop trying to be the voice of wisdom and one-uppance.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2010 8:30:41 AM PDT
MauricioD says:
T. Ching:

Are you in earnest when telling others to not write as they please in a forum of opinion or to not do what they do? Do reply this query.

BTW: You did not address my question regarding what the point (content, message, etc.) of the movie is. That a filmmaker sets out to entertain people does not qualify. Am not wise in this concern. Merely rational and, if allowed to be so, exercising my intellect.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2010 6:47:21 AM PDT
Only-A-Child says:
Main point is to give movie buffs a vehicle to play around with to better understand how films manipulate viewers by character identification and point-of-view. This film is like the drawing that looks like both an old hag and a beautiful girl depending on the orientation of the viewer. Haneke switches POV midway through the film and during the first viewing almost no one can make the switch with him, at least until Paul's self-reflexive comments directly into the camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2010 6:50:56 PM PDT
Dude. He states the point of the movie in the very first sentence of his review. I agree you're just being a smartass--and not very successfully.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 7:10:04 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 28, 2011 2:27:10 PM PDT]
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