Funny Games (2008)
Funny Games Videos
Funny Games Photos
Watch it now
News & Interviews for Funny Games
Critic Reviews for Funny Games
It's not a reassuring vision but that's not the name of Haneke's particular game.
That this relentless barrage of psychological and physical torture is extremely well made and powerfully performed -- Watts hurls herself into her physically demanding role with heroic conviction -- somehow makes it worse.
The fact that it features fine performances, talented direction and some moments of genuine suspense only makes the end product that much more grotesque and appalling.
Haneke's assault on our fantasy lives is shallow, unimaginative, and glacially unengaged -- a sucker punch without the redeeming passion of punk.
In addition to being borderline unendurable, Funny Games is inexplicable, and I don't mean in any philosophical sense. Who thought the world needed a shot-for-shot English-language version of Mr. Haneke's 1997 German-language film?
Audience Reviews for Funny Games
A shot-for-shot remake in English of the brilliant Austrian thriller that Haneke himself made ten years before - which makes me wonder what the point is, since it is the exact same plot. At least it is worth checking out for Naomi Watts' spectacular performance.
Michael Haneke's 'Funny Games' is a work of existential nihilism that challenges the idea of 'Hollywood morals' and audience's complicity in acts of violence. The story sees two serial killers/ home invaders subject a family to a series of games in which humiliation is key and mercy is left behind. 'Funny Games' suffers from an undeserved sense of self-brilliance, the fourth wall is often broken as the killers question if viewers are enjoying/agreeing with what is happening on screen in a manner which assumes they don't,this is wrong. As the film progresses it becomes that which it criticizes, elevating itself to the enjoyable levels of 'torture porn' it desperately wants to parody. The failings of the film's proposed ideologies is furthered by the moments the family being tortured are alone, which are boring and over-long, somewhat building excitement for their deaths. Despite all this 'Funny Games' is strengthened by convincing performances and a few experimental devices that separate it from the norm. Overly heavy handed and boring, 'Funny Games' fails to reach the levels of greatness it's so sure it has and offers less than the torture films it grows to become.
Until this film, I don't think I had ever watched a shot-for-shot remake, let alone one made by the same filmmaker as the original. I mean, what's the point, exactly? Perhaps a wider appeal in America/the English-speaking world, which traditionally resists reading subtitles...? Unfortunately, I don't really like Tim Roth, (he's no Ulrich Muhe, not even close), and after seeing the original, there's not much punch in the remake, nor even any subtle corrections to strengthen what was already there. I'll give it a decent rating, though, because other than the Roth vs. Muhe question, it's hard to find much difference. Personally, I'd watch the original, because it was made when it needed to made, when its point might have been strongest - plus, on that DVD, you get the interview with Haneke that's crucial to understanding just what the heck is going on, and why anyone would make a film like this. You'll get a chilling story whichever version you choose though, and one that ably points out how calmly we accept violence on film - and why, perhaps, we shouldn't.
Discuss Funny Games on our Movie forum!