Michael Reviews

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November 21, 2014
Realistic and harsh without resorting to cheap voyeurism or sensationalizing the subject. It's been a long time since I've seen a final act that was so banal but managed to squeeze every ounce of air out of the room until only a pounding heartbeat remained. Recommended but far from easy viewing.
October 6, 2014
Well this was a grueling watch, and a solo one; as Claire bailed out. And as usual Austrian cinema just doesn't do feelgood! So here we're going in for the story of a paedophile kidnapper, and his 10-year-old captive. Not a date movie.

For me all the great horror is rooted in the normal. And in a dull Vienna suburb, sexual and psychological horrors abound here. This is seeking to study the protagonist rather than understand him. Fuith's depiction of evil is given a dull image, with occasional outbursts of childish petulance. He is truly chilling.

This film is extremely uncomfortable viewing, but the fact that it's neither adopts pathos or horror only makes it all the more disturbing. My only criticism was the feelgood Boney M at the track?
½ September 24, 2014
Extremely challenging picture from Austria, a stark vision which avoids sensationalism
½ October 21, 2013
An Outstanding and original piece of work... Quick-witted and picturesque--A Coldly Observant Film with A Chilly, Amoral Protagonist... Disturbing and well-made!!
September 24, 2014
WOW.....WOW.....WOW.....SO SO SO SO SCARY......man I have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a great movie 2 watch, its got a good cast of actors/actresses throughout this movie......I think that Irawati Harshe Mayadev, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Purav Bhandare, Mahi Gill, Naseeruddin Shah, play good roles/parts throughout this movie.....man this movie is so scary, as it is more like a horror movie, I think that the director of this drama movie had done a great job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.....man this movie is so scary,



The film contains a scene in which Michael exposes his penis to Wolfgang. Schleinzer used an invisible split screen to ensure Rauchenberger did not have to participate in the scene





The film was met with mixed critic ratings at the Cannes Film Festival. While Indiewire's Eric Kohn called the film "a triumph of uneasy cinema: Not since Todd Solondz's Happiness has a movie portrayed pedophilia in such uncomfortable detail",Esquire's Mike D'Angelo tweeted "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE IN AUSTRIA. SERIOUSLY. Once again, very well made in the approved festival style, but I understand now exactly how detractors of Funny Games felt".




which resembles the famous Natascha Kampusch case from the offender's viewpoint. It premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. It is Schleinzer's directorial debut



man this is such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch, it is a really sad/sick/twisted movie 2 watch but it is so fantastic movie 2 watch, it is a really scary movie 2 watch, but it is so really well directed movie 2 watch.......I think that this is such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch, its such a scary movie 2 watch.....it is so frightening movie 2 watch, but it is so fantastc, its got a really sad ending, but it is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch, with a great cast throughout this movie.....its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie man this is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch......
September 20, 2014
I'm rating this movie 5/5 because I felt profoundly moved and disturbed by it. People say it didn't give much insight into the motivations of Michael but I feel it gave a great deal and not by the way of 'excusing'. It revealed an emotionally incompetent man utterly unable to relate to adults and that his family were cold and distant people amongst themselves and certainly the mother portrayed as dysfunctional. I felt sick and wounded after watching this and convinced the child is dead not alive, I am surprised to see people think he is found alive as there were signifiers to indicate this would not be the case. Although he did have the electricity switched on inside when the mother opened the door which is a clue to his possible survival. I know the director has said he intended it for the child to have been assumed to live however clearly he didn't and wanted it to be ambiguous and for us all to draw our own conclusion. The style of narrative (or lack of) is clearly that all interpretation is subjective.
March 23, 2014
Easily one of the top 5 most uncomfortable times I've ever had watching a film as the curtain is pulled back to reveal the tedious, day-to-day, meanderings of a Fuith's kidnapper/pedophile in this foreign thriller that's just too creepy for words.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
January 19, 2014
The central lesson of the movie "Michael" is that if you think there is something wrong with the mild-mannered, accident-prone, eyeglass-wearing, balding man who eats lunch alone everyday but still remains something of a magnet for lonely middle-aged women, then you are absolutely right.

In the case of Michael(Michael Fuith), who works in an insurance office, it is that he is a pedophile, having kidnapped Wolfgang(David Rauchenberger) who he keeps in his soundproofed basement, except for the one time when he takes him on an outing with him because apparently people care more about their lost pets than sexual predators.

And that's pretty much it, as the movie goes along in its own matter of fact and low key way, not even taking advantage of Michael's hospital stay to raise the suspense level at all. For the record, I generally respect unconventional storytelling but one should try to aim higher than a prolonged shaggy dog joke.
½ September 4, 2013
So well made and well acted. Not for the faint hearted but really worth a watch. Its creepy and slow
½ May 13, 2012
Un pedófilo asqueroso que nadie extrañará.
June 16, 2013
The portrait of a paedophile who keeps a ten year old kid locked up in the basement though on the outside he lives the ordinary life of an ordinary thirty year old. This film is a very interesting and original portrayal, which tastefully chooses to remain neutral to his obviously deranged central character. This is a choice that makes Michael an unsettling, awkward and cold film, and a choice that works to create an original portrait. A good performance by Michael Fuith in the titular character of the paedophile completes the picture.
June 9, 2013
A terrifyingly dark look . . . that's I'll I can say.
May 9, 2013
Creepy, with a capital C.
½ May 9, 2013
Sort of a Michael Haneke ripoff but nonetheless interesting.
February 20, 2012
In all understanding, a film that focuses on a pedophile keeping a child captive in his basement is certainly seeming to be asking for controversy (like Happiness before it, Michael is having an extremely limited release). This Austrian film does handle the material in a tasteful manner with little onscreen sexual abuse seen, but it's refusal to answer it's dark questions is maddening. Director/writer Markus Schleinzer had worked with Michael Haneke before, and that auteur's influence is readily apparent. The film has a similar vibe to his films, and uses many close up shots to help maintain the film's perpetual sense of claustrophobia. The script almost matches the directing too, even if it's climax may act as a bitter surprise. Overall, Michael is an efficiently made and disturbing film, but also one that isn't particularly easy to swallow.
June 16, 2012
Australian director Markus Schleinzer's first feature is a markedly cold, matter-of-fact depiction of five months in the life of a practicing pedophile who has imprisoned a 10-year-old boy in his soundproofed basement. Schleinzer's film is a story heavily anchored in controversy, which, through revealing very little, has traversed sensationalism and created one of the most provocative and alarming art house features of recent years.

Michael (Michael Fuith) is a thirty-something unmarried insurance agent who, by necessity, meticulously keeps up his domestic ritual. A white-collared office worker by day, Michael keeps to himself, shying away from human contact until he returns home after work. Behind his suburban home's mechanical steel shutters, and a soundproof basement door, Michael is holding a 10-year-old boy (David Rauchenberger) captive--and apparently has been for some time. Much of the film takes place in the house they inhabit, both as prisoners; the boy-literally and Michael--captive to his perversion. "Michael" is most affective however when young Wolfgang is away from the screen. Schleinzer sporadically removes us from Wolfgang's suburban prison to observe Michael clumsily attempt to integrate himself into society. Whether he's out trying to 'find' a companion for Wolfgang, or on an awkward work skiing trip, it becomes agonizing to watch.

The sexual encounters between Michael and Wolfgang are sparse and brief, with Schleinzer unwilling, and obviously unable to depict the acts of molestation in a graphic nature. The directors handling of such scenes are representative of Michael as a whole - we as an audience are always left to fill in the blanks. Never displaying anything outright shocking, it remains suitably restrained and left to your imagination.

Ultimately, "Michael" hinges on the subtlety and believability of its characters. Without such performances, the film could easily have been little more than a slice of shock cinema. Fuith is not just a convincing predator, but all the more crucially a convincing human being, driven by motivations outside of mere sexual gratification. "Michael" allows itself and its characters to slowly develop over its runtime so you get not just the immediate impression of how reprehensible this man is, but to really get a sense of the depth of his insanity.
½ May 24, 2012
Deeply disturbing. Due for the most part, to just how hard it works to maintain its objectivity. To peer into a reality pertaining to one of humanity's darkest corners - without flinching. Rather than selling us on a particular reaction. Being able to do this with any subject, is difficult enough. But with a subject THIS loaded - it takes nothing less than nerves of steel.
February 16, 2013
Australian director Markus Schleinzer's first feature is a markedly cold, matter-of-fact depiction of five months in the life of a practicing paedophile who has imprisoned a 10-year-old boy in his sound-proofed basement. Schleinzer's film is a story heavily anchored in controversy which, through revealing very little, has traversed sensationalism and created one of the most provocative and alarming arthouse features of recent years.

Michael (Michael Fuith) is a thirty-something unmarried insurance agent who, by necessity, meticulously keeps up domestic ritual. Michael, you see, is a homosexual pederast. A white-collared office worker by day, Michael keeps to himself, shying away from human contact until he returns home after work. Behind his suburban home's mechanical steel shutters and a soundproof basement door, Michael is holding a 10-year-old boy (David Rauchenberger) captive--and apparently has been for some time.

Much of the film takes place in the house they inhabit, both as prisoners; the boy-literally and Michael--captive to his perversion. "Michael" is most affective however when young Wolfgang is away from the screen. Schleinzer sporadically removes us from Wolfgang's suburban prison to observe Michael clumsily attempt to integrate himself into society. Whether he's out trying to 'find' a companion for Wolfgang, or on an awkward work skiing trip, it becomes agonizing to watch,

The sexual encounters between Michael and Wolfgang are sparse and brief, with Schleinzer unwilling, and obviously unable to depict the acts of molestation in a graphic nature. The directors handling of such scenes is representative of Michael as a whole - we as an audience are always left to fill in the blanks. No worries here about it ever displaying anything outright shocking, it remains suitably restrained.

Ultimately, "Michael" hinges on the subtlety and believability of its characters. Without such performances, the film could easily have been little more than a slice of shock cinema. Fuith is not just a convincing predator, but all the more crucially a convincing human being, driven by motivations outside of mere sexual gratification. "Michael" allows itself and its characters to slowly develop over its runtime so you get not just the immediate impression of how reprehensible this man is, but to really get a sense of the depth of his insanity.
January 8, 2013
It had moments that were unsettling but I honestly found it more just blackly funny. It was a brave and smart film. It's a film to me more about emasculation and social alienation more than anything, one that takes those themes to really dark extremes.
December 13, 2012
Not sure what it is with Germans and cellars...
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