Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review: Funny Games

Funny Games (2007)
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD
Director: Michael Haneke

Funny Games is Michael Haneke's remake of his very own 1997 Austrian movie of the same name. I thought the original was a disturbing masterpiece and it's one of those movies that you can never forget about. It's interesting that Haneke has made a remake of something so untouchable, even to the standards that he has set by himself. After the viewing, I understand his message. This is a remake of all of the recent movie remakes because it's a shot-by-shot copy of the original, only with different actors and language. To those who have braved the original, the movie is an unflinching stand against everything Hollywood because it's a testament that not everything can be tamed and altered just to satisfy a newer group of audience.

The movie follows the ordeals that a happy couple and their son have to endure when they are being held hostage at their vacation home by two young lunatics. It's a repugnant, unapologetic, and painful film that is made to purposely turn people off and in that very sense, it's a successful experiment into audience expectations and participation because it is clearly self aware of what it's doing: One of the psychopaths has an obsession for the camera that's recording the entire event as he seems to be directly addressing the audience at times. One would think that such action would take away the utter brutality of what is happening on the screen but unfortunately, it doesn't. Just like the title dictates, the film is playing torturous mind games with both the victims as well as those who are watching the movie and there is nowhere anyone can hide to shield themselves away from the nastiness of it all. The most remarkable thing is that a lot of the violence are merely implied, with very little blood, but the damning psychological impacts they have are beyond anything that a good gore-fest movie can ever inflict on us.

Haneke could have easily taken the sequel route for this film and present to us a different experience but instead, what we have here is the exact same film as before. Those who have seen the original would still find enjoyment over the fact that nothing has been sterilized in this release and things are still as disturbing as they were. It loses points on creativity but I am just glad that it didn't lose anything more than that in its overall transition. Funny Games is a movie reserved only for those who have the patience, persistence, and courage to survive through its sadism. Everyone else would classify it as unwatchable cruelty for no apparent purpose. But that is exactly the point.

RATING: 4 out of 5

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