Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Funny Games (DVD)
There are only a handful of films I can think of that really messed with me. A couple off the top of my head would be A Clockwork Orange and The Mist. Apparently, someone found another way to make a movie that disturbed me for an entire day. That person would be director Michael Haneke, and the film is Funny Games. Before I even go further, I will say that this film is definitely not for everyone. This is not for the faint of heart or if you get emotional watching films. You need to have a strong hold on your emotions when watching this, because it really fucks with you. Unlike the title, there's nothing funny going on here in the movie. A couple and their son (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and Devon Gearhart) head away to their cozy vacation home, only to find themselves crossing paths with two of the most sadistic fucking characters I've seen since the infamous "Alex DeLarge" in A Clockwork Orange. This version of Funny Games is actually a remake of the original that was done in 1997. From what I've read, this new one is identical to the original. The only difference is this version is done in English. We Americans can handle seeing someone ripped apart like in Saw. We can handle all the blood and guts. But how would we feel when we are faced with a very realistic take on the violence our culture gets its thrills off of? In Funny Games, that is exactly what we are presented with by a director who defies every rule in Hollywood on how movies should be done. Like a spoiled kid who gets what he wants but finds out he's still not satisfied, Michael Haneke gives the American audience what we've been indulging ourselves in. For so long we've gotten cheap thrills with seeing people getting tortured on film. In Funny Games we are presented with an honest picture of how disturbing violence is. There is no background music in the film, and when most of the violence actually takes place, it's done off camera which makes it a lot more creepy. You only hear what's going on, leaving room for your imagination to run wild. The other sound you'd hear is your heart thumping from the terror that unfolds before you. As the film goes on, you can't wait to see the evil pricks get what they deserve. But each time you think you are going to see justice served, the movie heads in a totally different direction. This movie is not "entertaining" in the sense that most films are. It mainly casts a reflection on our culture, showing us how far our twisted fascination can get with seeing violence onscreen. In regards to the movie, it goes way beyond any normal suspense or thriller I've seen recently. The acting done by the cast was extremely convincing. Naomi Watts and Tim Roth really pushed themselves in what I thought was the most difficult roles they've ever done. They portray the terror with such transparency you feel tempted to call 911 for them. As disturbing as this film was, it was a reminder to be vigilant when it comes to trusting certain people, and not being stupid enough to just let anyone in your home, no matter how safe a place seems.
And did I also mention it was disturbing?