Monday, March 24, 2008

Funny Games...

Funny Games is a remake of the 1997 film from writer/director Michael Haneke. Now, he is at the helm in this shot for shot remake as well. Does it live up to the original?

This is a story of a yuppie couple, Ann and George, along with their 10 year old son George, who go to their Long Island lake house for a weekend away. They have a pretty routine morning, however, after talking to a couple of freinds, the two believe that something is wrong. They then run into Peter. Peter is a young man dressed in a white shirt, black shorts, and white gloves. He asks for four eggs, and proceeds to break them twice. This angers Ann, and then Peter's freind, Paul becomes angered. The two men then attack the husband and proceed to take the family hostage. Now, there is a lot to say about this flick, so that's as far as I will go.

This film is not for everyone. This film starts off with a grand overhead shot of the family driving and playing a "name that tune" style game with opera. Then, as a close up of the family is shown, some hard-core thrash rock is thrown on. This is a perfect analysis for what this film is. No matter what it looks like, something else is going on. This is a slower paced film. It takes a while to get going, and it really works. Now, the biggest thing is this. While watching this, you know that it is a movie. With films like Saw and Hostile, it's torture for the sake of torture. Here, the main villian breaks the fourth wall. He addresses the crowd, and in turn, addresses what we expected from films like Saw. With these conventions in mind, he flips them on their heads. This is a slower paced movie, and it has a message. It's an exploration on our society and why, as a society, we flock to these Gorno flicks, and why we shouldn't. This is a horror film with a brain. It doesn't even really show any violent scenes, at least on screen. There is violence, but you don't ever see it. However, there is one scene of bloody revenge, that, well, is negated by the main antagonist, in just another statement on todays society. That scene in particular is a perfect example. It gets you all excited as you knew it was coming, and then takes it all back.

Visually, this film is stunning, but in a really dark way. It is almost monochromatic, with simple changes in shades as it is pretty much a blue film. There are some whites, and greys, but even yellow raincoats that are worn in this film seem to become almost green. The pace is also set up by the filmwork. It is not a conventional horror flick. It is slower and the takes are longer. A perfect way to put is, it's like Gus Van Sant decided to make a thriller, and just decided to watch the Singing In The Rain scene from A Clockwork Orange for a year, even down to the shots of people straining to escape. The faces of the two parents show so much of the story. I have never seen Naomi Watts so vocal, by simply using her face. She is really amazing. I do have a few problems with this film though.

Some of the performances are just not up to par. While the two villians are performed amazingly by Bradey Corbet and Michael Pitt, the father, played by the normally amazing Tim Roth, really lacks. He brings this already slower paced film to almost a screeching halt. He is not fun to watch, he brings nothing interesting to the film, and he also pretty much whispers the entire time. Also, the second act really dragged, and you couldn't wait for the two antagonists to get back on screen to talk at you. However, I was brought back into this film with it's really superb ending. I know people will say that it was boring, or not fun to watch, or the whole notion of a message was really pretentious, well all I can say is that it had a message, and thats more than I can say for a lot of what's out right now. While this isn't the most amazing film ever made, not even of the year so far, it is something different, and something new in an overcrowded, shittastic genre that is the torture porn film. 7/10...go see the original, and THEN check this one out.

Go see something good...

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