Funny Games U.S. (2007)
Michael Haneke's remake of his own 1997 film of the same title (which I haven't seen, but have on hold at the library), this movie is almost too intellectual to be tackled on this blog. But here goes.
A happy, über rich family (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart) is held hostage by a couple of psychotic preps (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet) who torture them both physically and emotionally for ninety minutes, give or take.
I did not like this movie. I did not enjoy watching it. It goes at great length to point out just how sick American viewers (myself included) are for watching and enjoying films about violence. The psycho preps often turn to the camera and encourage audience participation.
For better or worse, the film was completely cold, clinical and detached when dealing with the subject matter. There was not one shred of sentimentality in the entire film (which saves it from being a run of the mill anti-violence message movie - it is an exceptional anti-violence message movie).
The film is very reminiscent of Man Bites Dog, A Clockwork Orange or The Vanishing (review to come maybe), although it feels even more like it was designed just to make me squirm.
And even though I appreciated the film on an intellectual and artistic level, I really didn't like it. You're not supposed to like it. I'm a fairly desensitized child of the internet generation, but this film really grossed me out. And I can can tell how much the filmmakers wanted to piss me off. It presses every button in the button factory. Naturally, I did my best not to be pissed off by it.
But it's just so nasty. Poor Tim Roth spends almost the entire movie convincingly in pain (hey! Just like in Reservoir Dogs. I didn't like that movie either). And Naomi Watts... well, despite my other feelings about this movie, it made me like Naomi Watts a whole lot. I always thought she was a second rate Nicole Kidman, but really she's quite good. The fact, too, that they didn't make her really sexy in this (as they might've done in an American picture) adds to the disgusting hyper-realism of the film.
Anyway, though I did not like this film (and why should I? The film hates me), it's a good thing to watch and will give you something to talk about for up to a month.
Written and Directed by: Michael Haneke. Starring: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart.