Michael - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Michael Reviews

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December 13, 2012
Not sure what it is with Germans and cellars...
November 29, 2012
Could this be classified as horror movie? I don't think it meant to be documentary.
November 19, 2012
With such a horrifying, cruel theme I never really knew if I wanted to see it or not. I gave it a go since it felt like a clean, sterile film that seemed to be a strong experience. I don't know why, but I can't say it's especially good. It felt slow, but that was fitting. There are no light moments here, I missed that. It was not graphic either, and i'm glad. But as a total result it felt a bit flat. We get some very nice static images here in this sad, provoking, silent story. We get to hate this gruesome man and feel sorry for that poor boy, but that's about it. There are much sadder films out there, but this ain't no easy film to see non the less. I liked the ending a lot, it is very good. The creep-fest with the emotionless predator is not all that. It's the directors debut and I belive he should keep doing his visual way of presentation - it can turn out really good, but he can work a lot with his stories and themes.
November 12, 2012
A cold, clinical look at pedophilia, "Michael" is, still, never too obvious or explicit. By keeping it subtle, yet very objective, the film is even more terrifying than any other horror movie. The growingly tension is almost unbearable sometimes - we want to close our eyes, but we can't look away. The performances and the photography are great. A controvesial theme expertly adapted by the director. Very recommended.
October 14, 2012
Que una película toque temáticas diferentes no la hace buena
September 17, 2012
Markus Schleinzer's film Michael is a troubling, complex work that tells the story of a paedophile who has imprisoned a 10 year old boy in his basement. Nobody expects this to be an easy film to watch, and I know some people who have been so repulsed by it they have failed to reach the end. You hear such stories and you suspect that this film might be provocative for the sake of provocation, but it is entirely not that. It is a very calm movie that casts no judgement, but allows you, as the viewer, to interpret how you like.

Michael Fuith, as the eponymous figure, gives a truly unsettling performance. The sequence in which he attempts to abduct another young boy is nauseous and nailbiting. In fact, much of Schleinzer's direction is like that of a thriller - there are shock moments, shocking twists in the tale. He doesn't demonise Michael, but also critically he doesn't pass judgement - Michael is allowed to be, filmed as if this were a documentary. There is a fine balance of black comedy, and one 'gag' (filmed using a split-screen) that really unsettles.

This, then, is a very brave, unflinching look at a subject matter we are all too quick to brush under the carpet. Sometimes cinema needs to look into the abyss of human existance, without blinking or judging, and this film does just that.
September 11, 2012
it's well done but if you were to pitch me this plot as a movie idea beforehand, i'd probably say don't do it, it will drag without saying anything
½ September 8, 2012
Un tema bastante incomodo de ver que pocos directores se atreven a retratar, la retorcida relacion que lleva un pedofilo con su victima, un niño a quien tiene secuestrado en el sotano de su casa, y la forma en como trata de llevar una doble vida. Lo realmente escalofriante es lo que sugiere Michael mas no lo que vemos en pantalla.
½ August 27, 2012
well-made but ultimately too damn SLOW to be really enjoyed. i felt cheated by the ending.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2012
***1/2 out of ****

Michael (Michael Fuith) is a shy little man who works a competent job and seems to live a competent life with a competently spacy home and a competent body. In the eyes of pretty much any German citizen, he'd be a pretty decent working class male. He's not particularly social but his behavior doesn't appear destructive. This is what Michael appears to be on the outside; just an average Joe. But as we see him return home on the night that the film begins, we witness the opening and closing of the fateful blue safe-like door in the basement; which conceals a small room behind it in which a young boy named Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger) is being held captive.

Michael only lets Wolfgang out of his room between meals and occasionally to watch some evening television. Afterwards, he'll take the kid back to his room, close the metal door, and rape him. Michael is a meek gentleman on the outside and a pedophile monster on the inside. But nobody has to know this. The child has been his worst kept secret for what feels like a while now. But then again people don't usually come by his place often anyways. He's broken off most contact with the outside world for the mere satisfaction of his confused penis. I can totally understand the guy.

At times, Markus Schleinzer's "Michael" borders on being exploitative. While the disturbing acts that are the film's central themes are shown mostly off-screen, it also lacks the finger-wagging moralism of most Hollywood pictures covering the topic of pedophilia although I think that is precisely why it is so effective, haunting, and horrifying. Most people will not think twice before writing Michael off as just another monster who needs to be locked away from society (even though he essentially does that on his own); while some, like myself, will view the film as a chance to see things from his point of view. We aren't supposed to sympathize with his problems, which aren't even presented as problems, but I think it's better off that way.

The relationship between Michael and Wolfgang is strange and disturbing. Sometimes by day, Michael will take the boy out to the park or something like that; he's convinced the child that his parents don't want him back and that it's basically useless to run at this point, so Wolfgang puts up with everything that he has to go through. There are almost distressingly tender scenes in which these two clean together, play games together, and are able to uphold awkward yet decent conversations; while we also see them at their worst, in some truly brutal and uncompromising scenes. The film is sad, tragic, and real all at the same time; and it creeps up on you in such an unexpected way that it imprints images and concepts in your mind that won't soon leave.

I love movies like this. Movies that refuse to conform to clichés or common stylistics. Films that have the bravery to exist on their own terms and according to their own rules. "Michael" achieves an impeccable sense of unease through a minimalist style and the brave, dedicated performances of both Michael Fuith and David Rauchenberger. The film is probably going to upset a lot of people with its grit and realism; there is an element of dark humor that will probably come off as particularly off-putting. But if you want a movie that doesn't sugarcoat the truth and doesn't try to shallowly moralize it, then you've found it. In a review, I'm supposed to recommend the movie for a certain audience. I think with a fantastic and creepy film such as this, the only audience that I can recommend it to is the one that's most like me. Conventional movie-goers be damned; for this is not a conventional movie, and it's not afraid to cross a few lines. It's exploitation with artistic purpose.
August 24, 2012
Pretty creepy. Especially in light of the Austrian who kept his daughter in an underground apt & raped her. While we the viewer never see the acts committed while watching, we see the after-effects. I especially liked the ending.
August 23, 2012
Dificult to rate because of the subject ...3 is good i think
½ August 19, 2012
German tension isn't that good. Some shock here and there. Not much of a drama.
½ August 12, 2012
I went to the cinema to suffer, not the suffering that comes from a strong theme, but the suffering of TIME. This film is soooooooooo slow, and I don't care if that is what the director wants, it gave me a headache. The topic is strong and complicated, too bad, a waste.
August 11, 2012
So little and so much going on here. Not a flag-waver to less-is-less, but this is a real grower/clinger/stifler.
July 30, 2012
Flawed, but dark, sad and very intriguing.
July 26, 2012
A disturbing tale carefully directed with the narration style of an expert, yet with many empty spaces that keep it away from becoming the masterpiece that could have been
July 19, 2012
Reflexión ecuánime y con una perspectiva naturalista sobre la pedofilia; dicho análisis se logra perfectamente gracias a la conjuncón de las personalidades protagónicas y el sincero objetivo de mostrar solo la cotidianidad de una relación insana y escalofriante.
½ July 12, 2012
Superior drama, bluntly delivered.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2012
This movie surprisingly is a dark comedy though it's very uneasy to watch cause of its disturbing content.
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