Funny Games Reviews
"Anyone who leaves the cinema doesn't need the film, and anybody who stays does."
Michael Haneke the writer/director on his film "Funny Games" said back in 1997. Originally this film was made in Austria and in non-English, Henke remade it for his English audiences so he can let his experiment be known to a much wider audience. Funny Games is an experiment in film making it's not a horror as most believe it is, it more a new genre where reality and fiction cross lines. Haneke stated that the film is a reflection and criticism of violence used in media. Funny Game is a psychological thriller that most will find hard to stomach. Those who are a fan of the macabre gene of cinema will have seen this already. I have decided to review it for the simple reason that I found it fascinating and couldn't look away. Sure it was graphic in nature, surreal and hard to stomach but the acting, the script, the nonsense of it all made it worthy.
George and Ann Farber, their son Georgie, and their dog Lucky arrive at their holiday home; a lake house ready for a two week vacation. When they arrive they see their neighbour talking with two young men all dressed in tennis whites, soon after one of the men knocks on the door; Paul. Paul asks Ann who is cooking in the kitchen for four eggs as a request from their neighbour, as soon as Ann hands the young man the eggs he drops them, Ann gives him another four eggs feeling a little annoyed and the man leaves. Georgie and Georgie are at the lake in their boat where they can hear Lucky their dog barking hysterically, soon after Paul is back at the door this time with Peter. The young men admire a golf club and then once again ask for four more eggs, apparently their dog Lucky jumping broke them the last time. Ann gets really frustrated after the boys ask for four more eggs and asks them to leave her home. Outside George and Georgie are fixing up their small boat and hear the dog barking nonstop when suddenly there is a yelp and the barking ceases. George and Georgie go back to the house to see Ann worked up and the two boys who won't leave, there is a slight disagreement and George slaps one of the boys. In retaliation Peter breaks George's leg with the golf club he was admiring earlier, it is then the Farber family are told they are being held hostage and won't be alive in nine hours...
Michael Pitt (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I Origins) who plays Paul is brilliantly disturbed in his role as is his off sider Peter played by Brady Corbet (Mysterious Skin, Thirteen). Paul constantly picks on Peter's weight and lack of intelligence and tells stories of Peter's past only to then come clean that he has lied. When the boys first arrive they are so polite and well-mannered and as the film progresses they never lose that personality no matter what the circumstance is. They are cold meticulous and rather intelligent it seems so all you can ever wonder is why? Why are they holding this poor family hostage? What is the real reason behind the home invasion? As the film progresses it becomes harder and harder to watch but what makes it so unique is the way Michael often turns towards the camera and smirks as if to say "you know what's coming next don't you" there are a few words actually spoken to us as the audience as well at one point we are asked "who's going to win, do you want to place your bets?" It seems as only Paul ever acknowledges he is in a movie though often referring to the way movies play out and how he is running things to keep the audience (us) entertained. This has been done before but never with such an outrageous character.
Naomi Watts (Birdman, St Vincent) plays Ann Farber, Tim Roth (Lie to me, Pulp Fiction) plays George Farber with Devon Gearhart (Shorts, Changeling) as Georgie Farber. Ever character here is perfect in who they need to be it would have been a very hard role to play no matter who you were so I take my hat off to everyone on the screen involved. As I have already said this is not an easy film to watch and whether you decide to watch the original from 1997 or the remake from 2007 you will get exactly the same film, shot for shot. I love what Henke is trying to say here basically he has made a film where he wants you to walk out, he wants you to fail his experiment, he wants to offend every fiber of your soul, but if you do watch till the end what does that mean about who you are as a person? Let me say this last thing about this film, it's not a "Hostel", it's not a "Scream", it's not a "Salo" or a "Serbian Story". You don't actually see much of anything to turn your stomach it's what you hear and what you imagine that will make you ill. I personally wish there wouldn't mind more films of this nature, what this say's about me I'm uncertain.
I love a movie that can make me think for days afterwards, a movie you bring up in conversation with friends a movie that makes you wonder about life as a whole. As you can read; this is not a family friendly movie and I would only watch this if you feel mentally stable enough.