Home Arts Film review: Funny Games Dir. by Michael Haneke

Film review: Funny Games Dir. by Michael Haneke

by Archives March 18, 2008

Be warned, this film is despicably violent. Appropriately titled Funny Games, Michael Haneke’s remake of the 1997 Austrian version of the same title is a blatant critique about consumable violence and the society that consumes it.
With this film, Haneke can’t help but hit his target, consumers of the genre of American film that incorporates naivety and gratuitous violence, on more than one perverse level.
The plot begins with your average, wealthy American family driving their Range Rover to a lake house for a week of sailing and vacation. The Farbers, Ann (Naomi Watts), George (Tim Roth), and little Georgie (Devon Gearheart), amuse themselves by guessing the names of classical composers while listening to randomly chosen albums. They arrive at their white picket-fenced house, their Golden Retriever barking in tow.
It is not long before Peter (Brady Corbet) and Paul (Michael Pitt), supposed guests of the neighbours, arrive at the door asking for some eggs on behalf of their host. The twisted games have begun and the innocent ones are over.
The family is taken hostage and subjected to the imaginations of the two morbid young men. Paul and Peter, dressed in white golfing attire with white gloves, speak very politely but this just adds to their menace. The pair are obviously not victims of poor upbringing or enabling circumstances – we understand they are just individuals who get off on torturing an innocent family. The Farber family is overtaken by fear as Paul and Peter bet them they won’t survive the next 24 hours and the two young criminals do just about every kind of imaginable violent act to the family and their dog – much of it off-screen.
Funny Games is certainly not for the faint of heart. However, it does effectively convey its message that reality, as we define it, is up for questioning. The public may be lulled into believing that unspeakable crimes of this nature do not exist, but this film tells us that would be naive. The very minds that can think up such a dreadful plot are testament to the reality of violence. It is not so inconceivable, and that is what makes it so terrifying.

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