Funny Games, (1997) dir. Michael Haneke

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by aoiookami, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    This one has been a long time coming to my little home theater. I've read so muich about it, and with the remake about to hit our screens, it seemed a good time to visit the film that packs quite a reputation.

    Things I've read? It's shocking, it challenges the audience and asks what their limits to screen violence is and how they react to it, it's dark.... blah blah. Time to go in and see for myself.

    And so, I came, I saw, and I sighed a huge disapointing breath. This is it? Shocking? Challenging? Who for, a mainstream audience too intimidated by Aje but ready for something more edgy than Scream?

    I can imagine people are going to argument that the fact that all the violence is off screen speaks of how good the movie is - your imagination and all that - but it just didn't work for me. Jaded? I wouldn't use the word "jaded", it's simply that I've seen things far worse/challenging than this.

    Yes the ladies performance is good. And the scene played in almost real time after... you know what, was nicely done. But I'm stuggling to mention anything other of significant note. I just wasn't feeling this film. Maybe it's a mood thing, if you're feeling particularly open to being shocked.

    I found the references to the screen, and the remote control thing, utterly laughable to be honest. It's not working in 1997, mate.

    I wouldn't say it's bad, but man, I'm very disapointed.

    The one highlight that stuck with me was the thrash music. Because I happen to own the CD they took it from. Other than that - I'm not sure I should have bothered after all.
     
  2. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    The American film is better - since it directly has a US reference to critique, given the success of SAW, HOSTEL, THE STRANGERS, etc. It's an academic critique of the genre, of the audience and the culture that indulges in watching the suffering of others. It's not shocking in the conventional way, and I'm sure Haneke would balk at comparisons with Aja, since he's clearly trying to distance himself from that mode of "entertainment". Is it a pretentious film? You betcha, but one that offers up enough interesting meditations on the formula and tests on the audience's attention span that it certainly warrants consideration.

    If you go in expecting a brutal horror film and come out disappointed, I'd say that Haneke proved his point and would probably be happy with that result.
     
  3. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I got to disagree with your comments on the remake and Dwatts's thoughts on the 97 version. The original affected me in a way that the remake didn't come close too, it stayed with me for days. The new version was OK but it just seems like most scenes, although done well were just missing something and frankly kinda pointless.
     
  4. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    The point he was making is so simplistic, I'm not sure it's any victory for him. Unless he intended to bore me, in which case I might well have to throw in the towel. He could of just as easily made a porn film as a statement that sex films can titillate. He's about 60 years too late - is repeating a message that's been done before - and basically managed to sell a dull lecture (or did he, I don't think the first film did all that well).

    I think this film is basically existing with sort of reputation because critics have supported his assertion - not because the message itself is all that interesting, valid, nor poignant, but because they want to validate their own critiques and convince people how insightful and clever they are. Almiost every professional commentary I've read on the film is exactly the same, like they were cut and pasted. Insights? Few. In fact, they were written for them by the Director in his interviews, they've merely repeated and parotted them over and over, desperately trying to convince a largely indifferent audience. If you're commenting on violence in movies by attacking violence in movies - it suggests to me that he's bought into the idea that movies create and sustain violence in our society, which I don't happen to believe and find naive.

    Without the Iraq war we wouldn't have had a long run of so called "Torture porn" - it wasn't invented by movie makers from nothing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  5. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Or perhaps it's your interpretation that's simplistic. He's certainly not trying to show violence to demonstrate that we're a culture infatuated with it. There's way more going on than that. Even take the sequence you like with the metal music - the fact that it's put on by the bourgeois parents draws attention to the fact that such adrenaline noise is an artifice added by filmmakers to excite audiences rather than convey reality. It's totally false here, and it's all the more absurd amidst the tranquil nature drive. Haneke's asking us how genuine we really are watching these movies - are we there to identify with sympathetic characters (who'd likely have put in Bach) or masochistic directors (who'd crank up Cannibal Corpse).

    Haneke walks a tightrope with this question throughout, and it's again much more complex than showing violence to illustrate violence. The fact that we spend that elongated sequence with the parents trying to get their phone to work after the attack is again Haneke playing on our expectations. The rising action should be commencing here, but instead he slows us to a crawl with a sequence of human interest. Now again, we should be caring about their plight to contact the police and end this, if, indeed, we actually care about these people. We don't though, they are our pawns in leading us to the next extended bit of torture or action. That you were bored in sequences is again not a complaint, but a compliment to the effectiveness of his message.

    The rewind sequence is an obvious one, our need to manufacture and manipulate reality to our liking through entertainment rather than through simple experience, but there's plenty more subtleties going on behind the surface.
     
  6. Mutilated Prey

    Mutilated Prey Soul Stealer

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    Just watched this and didn't love quite as much as many here. I thought Paul was annoying.
    And the whole rewind thing really spoiled any credibility in my opinion. As well as the random asking the camera what "we" think.

    Shoulda kept it dark and passed on the random cute antics. There weren't even that many, so I'm not sure why it was necessary. They could have gotten away with keeping that shit out. Also felt some scenes were way too drawn out. I'll try the remake though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  7. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    I actually have a serious question. Don't laugh or anything, but...

    In the original 1997/98 version of the film, is the remote control a DVD or VHS remote?
     
  8. Mutilated Prey

    Mutilated Prey Soul Stealer

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    Haha. I'm going to guess VHS the way the rewind looks and sounds.
     

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