Everyone pretty much jizzes their pants whenever you talk about Michael Haneke. I’ve sat through endless conversations with film grads, excitedly discussing how profound Haneke’s work is; how his subtle social commentary and take on violence is “unbelievably thought provoking”, how his meticulous and flawless filmmaking practices will haunt you for months, and so forth and so forth.
In particular I have heard time and time again that Funny Games would be the most ‘disturbing’ and ‘intelligent’ thing I was ever going to see in my adult life, that it was literally so mind-blowing that he was forced to make it twice, in two different langues, ten years apart, shot by shot.
So I watched it. In both languages.
With barely any bad reviews, this was always gonna be a tough one; I do really need to get some things off my chest though, because sadly this film
did not feel good to me. And not even in a ‘Texas chainsaw Massacre’, so-amazing-I-was-traumatised-and-had-to-pop-a-Valium-to -calm-my-nerves, type of way, more along the lines of sheer and unbelievable frustration that i had voluntarily lost two hows of my life (twice), not through alien abduction, by watching THIS.
Let’s just get one thing straight before I proceed, (a disclaimer to the haters), as a semi-intelligent human being, with a pretty solid grasp of film theory, I categorically refuse to be Michael Haneke’s ‘lab rat’ in this hilarious social experiment on the art of ‘switching things up’ with the audience. I understand what he was attempting to achieve and attempting to question; issues of voyeurism, sadism, how desensitized we are to violence, where our empathy lies etc etc. But to be perfectly honest I actually did not care about a single person or thing in this movie for the above to apply. Especially Naomi Watts.
I want to point out that my opinion of this film is based on my personal consumption of what i deem to be, well, a bad film . Maybe I don’t quite fit in to his target demographic, which is presumably the condescending school of the Von-Trier hard-knocks. Maybe it’s because I actually LOVE a good slasher movie, with blood and severed heads and other low-brow gore shit that Haneke finds so detestable. Or maybe, just maybe, I was under the impression this was a horror movie, so I sat down to watch a horror movie, and ended up with some contrived art-house bullshit that I had not mentally signed up for, and that then enraged me and lead to this.
Are you telling me this skinny kid in white golf shorts is seriously being presented as a source of threat on Camera? Serious? This Dude?
I may not own a lake house in Austria, or be a wealthy European with a golden retriever, so I’m just gonna freestyle the next part and pretend I would know how to act if I did own a lake house in Austria, and make the assumption that the audience would basically act the same goddamn way, unless I’m either nuts, or there’s something really wrong with society. I know, for example, that I would NEVER EVER, under any circumstances open my door to a random stranger and just let them into my kitchen. Not only that, but then be cool with them hovering over me like a vulture, whilst blatantly lying about the eggs. I don’t give a shit if you want 4 eggs, 8 eggs 10 eggs, wait outside my door, this isn’t the 1950s.
So now I’m not buying into this scenario because I’m already too detached for it to make sense for me, nor am I minutely getting emotionally invested. I’m already like ‘ok so this would never happen in my life’ …and low and behold the suspense is ruined.
Then the two public school boy psychopaths unconvincingly ‘toy’ with the family and refuse to leave the house. They respond to the equally unconvincing demands to exit the property with an icy sadism and just sort of stand there, playing their game (now also with us, in case you missed that ‘breaking the fourth wall’ thing). Already I’m massively irritated by the sheer level of unneccessary passiveness going on. AS IF you would really just stand there and not attempt to headbutt these guys who are in your house, unarmed, with white shorts on? What happened to human instinct? fight or flight? adrenaline? no…
Then it goes on for 2 hours and everyone dies.
A few things. How can a golf club really cause that much damage to a man’s leg? How are you gonna walk down to the lake with the guy who’s captured you, attacked your husband, murdered your dog, and see a boat full of people you know, and just not say a word? when its him and 5 people who could easily take him down and save you? It’s basically your fault you died.
And its my fault I wasted three hours of my life
Sorry if I offended anyone. Maybe you should rethink your shit taste in films