Wolfpaw plays some Funny Games, reviewing the 2007 remake…
Funny Games (written and directed by Michael Haneke, a remake of his 1997 Austrian film Funny Games) is a film that might disturb you or it might leave you cold, then again it could put you off golf for life (not a bad thing in my opinion).
Take two seemingly innocuous middle class young American lads (Paul and Peter); well dressed, well spoken and so polite and let them wreak havoc with a sweet middle class couple, their son and the obligatory dog. In short this is the plot, the story and the whole damn film….however it is the telling of the tale that makes it work.
When all your expectations of a film are thrown into chaos it is unsettling and disturbing.
Paul and Peter have a need for eggs, Paul goes to the nearest house and asks for some, then, oh dear me, he drops them. Having been given more by Mrs Middle-Class (Naomi Watts), Paul trots off only to return a while later with a tale of woe resulting from more broken eggs. Middle-Class couple get a bit annoyed and refuse. Mr Middle-Class (Tim Roth) tries to forcibly eject the annoying lads but is rewarded by being shown an awesome golf swing which shatters his leg.
From now on the film spins a tale of hostages and violence, or as one of the lads says “entertainment”.
No spoilers in here but in one part of the film there is a scene that still haunts the memory. The two lads have popped out for a while giving the family a chance to attempt escape. You may start rooting for the family in the hope that the cycle of violence is over until… a golf ball rolls slowly across the hall floor, telling you that the lads are back and the violence is about to get even worse. It is a beautiful moment of pure terror that literally takes your breath away.
The portrayal of two psychopaths having so much fun and entertainment at the expense of their captives is achieved through good acting and the lack of the usual horror tricks. There is no creepy score, no ‘shock’ cut-away, no sudden cuts to gore or scary images, it is just two lads (admittedly rather anti-social) and a ‘nice’ family enjoying each others company and playing games, ones that involve extreme violence to the captive family.
It is vaguely similar to A Clockwork Orange in the tone of its “pleasant” violence but it is not in that league, just similar.
Near the end of the film is a pointless piece of arty artifice (breaking the 4th wall) where the action is rewound to change the outcome of the story (i.e. the ending the viewer wants is taken away from them and replaced by another) Akin to the director saying NO you don’t get what YOU want — THIS is what I want.
Apart from that small point this is a film that is well worth watching if only to learn that you should:-
a. Never have a lakeside retreat
b. Never give eggs to anyone
c. Never play golf
d. Never trust a pair of Psychopaths
e. Stick to Monopoly
Image from IMDb
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