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Funny Games (2007)
Movie Review by The Cryptkeeper

Funny Games (2007) Anna (Naomi Watts) and George (Tim Roth) are enjoying a vacation with their son when two sadistic young men (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet) break into their cabin and hold the family hostage. The psychotic duo plays twisted games with their prisoners, forcing them to comply to stay alive. Director Michael Haneke remakes his chilling 1997 German-language film as an indictment of the media's fascination with violence. -netflix

In this age of horror movie remake overflow, along comes Michael Haneke to remake his own film for the American masses. I never saw the original thriller, but the remake was not supposed to be much different than the original, just more Americanized. However, the filmmaker has said in the past that the original movie was an American movie, given that violence as a form of entertainment is inherently American. Don't know if I agree with that, as using violence for entertainment goes back to the Roman Empire and probably before. More on that later.

The casting for this version was pretty good; Watts and Roth held their own pretty well. The two brothers were cast well also, the younger one was quite disturbing and the older one was played by that creepy, big lipped kid from Murder By Numbers. Just being in the same room with him has to be uncomfortable. However, he did do a good job of pulling off the violence with a nonchalant attitude.

While not a bad movie, there were a few things that kept bugging me. For one, the white gloves that the killers wore, never really seemed to get dirty or bloody. Maybe I missed the part where they dirtied the gloves, or the part where they used OxyClean to whiten them... who knows. Secondly, the camera tricks the filmmaker chose to use. Ok, I could deal with the camera asides, where the killer addresses the audience. They were unnecessary, but I could begrudgingly live with them. Where they lost me is when the killer manipulated the film itself with a remote control by rewinding something that just happened and redoing it. What the hell? I am pretty sure that most of the American population, even if they have trouble discerning fantasy from reality, understands that you can't rewind something and do it over. This little stunt added nothing positive to the film. Just another in a long line of items in this film that seemed like jabs against Americans. For instance, Roth's portrayal of a middle class husband and father that can't protect his family, and barely even tries... was totally unrealistic and seemed to stereotype the American middle class male as some sort of impotent weakling. Maybe I am reading way too much into all of it, but isn't that what these art house movies are supposed to accomplish?

There were also your typical movie moments where the victims did very little to fight back or try to escape, and when they did... they bumbled it horribly. For all of his art-house talk, Haneke stuck to horror movie formulas quite often. He did shrug convention somewhat with the ending, so do not expect a happy one. He also did a good job with giving most of the movie a realistic film, and he didn't need to shake the camera around like a retard to do it. For all of the violence in the film, you actually get to see very little... as the violence largely happens off screen, making your imagination work overtime, which lends a creepier feel to the film.

If you have seen the original, you probably need not bother to watch the remake... unless you just want to compare and contrast. However, I would recommend a viewing by anyone who hasn't seen it. I have mixed feelings about it overall. It pissed me off quite a bit at times, but also entertained at times... so it wasn't a total disappointment. I do disagree with the Haneke's ideals and perceptions of the American people though. His film was not so much an indictment of the American masses fascination with violence, but more of an indictment of the filmmaker's art-fag philosophies. It was a movie chock full of senseless violence, that doesn't show you the violence, and then looks down on you for wanting to see violence. See if for yourself and decide.

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