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Funny Games

Funny Games (1998)

tomatometer

63

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 27
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 10

Violent images and blunt audience provocation make up this nihilistic experiment from one of cinema's more difficult filmmakers.

60

Average Rating: 4.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

Violent images and blunt audience provocation make up this nihilistic experiment from one of cinema's more difficult filmmakers.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 21,391

My Rating

Movie Info

A psychological thriller about an innocent family as they stumble upon a holiday in hell: Anna, George and their son arrive at their lovely lakeside home on vacation and meet a strange and demanding young man--a guest of their neighbors''--who turns out to have rather violent tendencies.

Oct 9, 2001

Attitude Films

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All Critics (27) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (10) | DVD (4)

The film outstays its welcome and is more than a little too knowing in its manipulation of standard audience expectations for the genre.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Brilliant, radical, provocative, it's a masterpiece that is at times barely watchable.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This beautifully acted and paced German variant of Cape Fear ... is tricked out with a number of Brechtian devices to catch audiences in a voyeuristic trance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The basic puzzle is why this sophisticated director chose this tired formula.

January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The emotions of the victims are clear and complex -- their conflicts dominate our experience of the narrative as powerfully as all the devices telling us to look elsewhere for the movie's themes.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The first half is sadistically intense, Geiring and Frisch make wonderfully creepy psychopaths, and Haneke and cinematographer Jurgen Jurges burnish the film to a high polish that's rare for the genre.

September 20, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A sort of Austrian art-house Cape Fear by way of the new Cinema of Cruelty.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Haneke's film doesn't invite audience exploration; it pummels them with preordained conclusions.

March 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

What Haneke has actually done is to satirize the complex relationship between the story and the audience. On that level it's a triumph.

March 13, 2008 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (2)
eFilmCritic.com

Haneke has rational reasons for his movie's violence, but he still crosses lines more often than he justifies crossing them.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Haneke's snooty admonishments are disturbing because they're never self-critical.

May 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Um genial exercício narrativo e de estilo que, ao mesmo tempo em que mantém o espectador tenso, obriga-o a encarar a própria fascinação pela violência.

April 5, 2006
Cinema em Cena

As a metaphysical experiment in sadism, Funny Games is endorsed by negative responses.

November 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke successfully mocks the American media's penchant for violence by pushing the limits of cinematic sado-masochism.

October 27, 2005 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Comment (1)
ColeSmithey.com

What happened to the good old fashioned insane killer?

October 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

...one sequence featuring the manipulation of time by a character undermines everything that came before it...

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comment (1)
Reel Film Reviews

Sadistic, insufferable, clever, and relentlessly compelling.

April 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

This is still the most frightening film you will ever see: unforgettably sadistic, utterly plausible, and totally f---ing terrifying.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Alternately infuriating and harrowing, Michael Haneke's Funny Games is a potent piece of shock cinema that thrives on making the audience uncomfortable.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

It's a film you might argue with, but its sparing use of on-screen violence, some extraordinarily protracted scenes and sensitive handling of thorny subject matter make it also a film you ought to see.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

A firestarter for post-screening arguments, alight with ghastly images and actions, and essayed by a spot-on cast and storyline that flows seamlessly from one nightmarish incident to the next.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

If you want, this is a high-class Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Funny Games

I am a loser until I review this movie.
September 7, 2007
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
February 15, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

'Funny Games' is one of the most provocative films I have ever seen, if not the most. I see what Michael Haneke is trying to do, he's revisiting themes of the media and desensitisation like he did in 'Benny's Video', however this time Haneke is directly confronting his audience about the violence they supposedly watch with relish. The antagonist of the film actually addresses the audience, asking 'Don't you want some plot development?', 'You're on their side, aren't you?' He needlessly injects this nasty film with condescension and pretension, and none of it really works, Haneke only succeeds in appearing smug and self-righteous. Haneke has said that he makes the viewer an 'accomplice' of the murderers. No he doesn't, not at all. Not once did I even begin to want to be an 'accomplice', the antagonists are some of the most wretched I've ever seen, it's nonsense. During the evil mind games that the killers inflict on the family, I felt like them, a victim, not an 'accomplice'. I, like any other viewer, was desperately hoping that the family could somehow escape their captors.

The ill-judged provocation climaxes in a scene where Haneke 'manipulates' the audience, making them 'applaud' violence; but applauding is a completely justified response to the scene, which, without giving anything away, concerns the maiming of a truly reprehensible character. If Hanake himself were in the Anna and Georg's situation, he'd be utterly liberated by what occurs; it is the film's most self-righteous, hypocritical scene. It is obvious that violence can be used accordingly, it is quite often a necessity, and this particular scene is the most appropriate use of violence imaginable. The majority of the violence one witnesses in Film and TV is far removed from reality, people are aware and afraid of the ugly, messy truth of violence, the films that 'Funny Games' tries to chastise serve only as harmless escapism. Haneke seems very pleased with this creation, but he shouldn't be, this rather ambitious film falls flat, achieving in merely riling its audience, not holding a mirror to their faces.

Haneke seems to think he has the viewer in a vice-like grip, and he does, but certainly not in the way he thinks he does, which is 'manipulating' and exposing sick little voyeurs. Instead, he keeps the stranglehold on his audience through his skill for building excruciating tension to the point where the eventual violence, which is never gratuitous, is wholly more potent. It's undeniably powerful, and the acting is unsettlingly good, it's a thoroughly unpleasant, tortuous film. However, if you need reminding of the ugly reality of violence, there are many films out there that will deliver without the pretence.
November 11, 2012
Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

The 2004 DVD release of this film has an interview at the end with Michael Haneke that I think is essential. In it, he says that "People watch this film for as long as they have to." If you've never been the type to watch violent films, you'll turn this off right away... and if you're always watching them, you'll very likely get to the end. As Haneke puts it, you'll only get to the end if you need to.

So what is it? Basically, a couple and their son (about 10 years old) travel to a summer home, where they become victims of a home invasion, in which the two villains narrate their actions, playing a form of twisted game in order to exploit, humiliate and eventually harm them. The story and the violence are carried off in a winking way, however, made to make you question what exactly you're watching, how you're watching it, and why. Hard to say more without ruining the effect. Provocative stuff.
January 16, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Funny Games (1998) (CA)
  • Funny Games (FR)
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