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Violent images and blunt audience provocation make up this nihilistic experiment from one of cinema's more difficult filmmakers.
All Critics (29)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (19)
| Rotten (10)
| DVD (2)
The film outstays its welcome and is more than a little too knowing in its manipulation of standard audience expectations for the genre.
Brilliant, radical, provocative, it's a masterpiece that is at times barely watchable.
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.
The basic puzzle is why this sophisticated director chose this tired formula.
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.
Haneke's films are famously pessimistic, blackhearted affairs that peel back the thin veneer of politesse hiding human monstrosity. This isn't his best movie, but it is his most viscerally frightening.
So much of it is elevated to engrossing observation because it is a movie that takes these ideas seriously, not as tools meant to turn a stomach.
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.
A sort of Austrian art-house Cape Fear by way of the new Cinema of Cruelty.
Haneke's film doesn't invite audience exploration; it pummels them with preordained conclusions.
What Haneke has actually done is to satirize the complex relationship between the story and the audience. On that level it's a triumph.
Haneke has rational reasons for his movie's violence, but he still crosses lines more often than he justifies crossing them.
A brilliant narrative exercise that cleverly plays with the conventions of mainstream Cinema to create a cruel and merciless experience for the viewers, who are forced to face their own taste for (and obsession with) violence and is refused any sort of catharsis or relief.
Home invasion films are nothing new, and there have been quite a few films in the last few years that really have reinvigorated the genre, most notable You're Next and The Strangers. But Michael Haneke's 1997 film Funny Games ranks among one of the finest genre films and it's a brilliantly crafted picture, one that steadily builds up the tension and takes you on a nightmarish journey through hell. The cast are great in their roles and there is enough tension on-screen to grab your attention from beginning to end. What makes this such a twisted viewing is the fact that the villains are unrelenting and are truly menacing. The film is unflinching in its brutality, and Haneke's direction brilliantly conveys the dire situation that the characters go through. In terms of a horror film, Funny Games succeeds on many levels, and it's one that definitely goes for the human psyche and in doing so makes feel uncomfortable throughout the film. Like I said, home invasion films are not new, but when done right, they tend to succeed at being a truly disturbing and memorable horror film. That is the case with Funny Games, this film will stay with you long after you've seen it, and if you enjoy a well crafted, disturbing piece of horror, then this film is for you. The film has everything you'd expect from a good horror film and if you're a diehard horror fan, you definitely should give this one a viewing. With a great story, terrific acting and directing, Funny Games is an accomplished horror film that stands out among the genre as one of the best home invasion films ever made.
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