Michael Haneke’s Funny Games is quite possibly the greatest movie of all time, a daring cinematic vision that begs to be seen! Wait! Grab the delete button, go back to the beginning of the review, we can’t start it off that way can we knowing what we know? The way this review should have started off is: This movie is complete bullshit! Think that I’m cheating? Well Haneke uses the same tactic when one of the villains in the movie gets shot; the other bad guy grabs the remote control, rewinds the actual movie, and starts it over again so he can save the other bad guy, so I’m going to use his technique to review his stupid movie. Haneke made this movie basically to say to the people who paid money to see this; “what are you willing to put up with movie violence, look at all you sick people coming to see the movie I made, you disgust me”.
Here’s a picture I found of what he was thinking of his audience when he wrote this movie.
Haneke said in an interview “Anyone who leaves the cinema doesn’t need the film, and anybody who stays does.” This way he can absolve himself of any criticism because apparently someone appointed him the moral police. So he’s making a litmus test movie to say that people need to think about why they like to watch violence on screen and he does it by making an incredibly sadistic movie. That’s like saying you are against bestiality and proving that you hate it by fucking a goat on Good Morning America while Willard Scott announces birthdays and slathers his wrinkly flesh in strawberry preserves in the background. Haneke has the gall to have the villains at the end of the movie engage in a conversation on how some people believe the things we watch can possibly be real in another dimension. So he’s telling us by watching people get killed in a MOVIE, we are becoming accomplices to murder. I’ve never felt that a director thought I was so stupid in a movie than I did watching this pretentious garbage. And if Michael Haneke believes that watching someone get killed in a movie, what does that say about him since he was the one who wrote it? He’s chastising movie goers for watching violence and yet he doesn?t seem to have a problem with making money off of those same people. If he felt so strongly about this he should never have charged people to see this or better yet keep his opinion to himself if he can’t make the message without condemning the same people who are lining his pockets.
I’m sick of this discussion of violence in film. This is fiction people! If you hate violence don’t watch it, plain and simple. Violence in film is about as real as love in any of the movies like “Uptight Business Woman Falls for Gold Locked Laid Back Slacker Dude with Life Lessons and Compromise” Starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. If you hate violence in movies you might as well hate it in every form of art. Bosch paintings should be burned in the streets. Prints of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring should be melted down to make Barbie dolls. And Literature is the biggest offender. Shred all of Shakespeare’s master works, because they almost always include violence. Or how about that horrible story where that ghost took over a town and killed all the first born children. What was that horrifying tale that in? Oh yeah, the Bible. Even if we censor all works of imagination, real people are still going to do horrible things to each other because unfortunately it’s the nature of human beings that some of us are just screwed up. We’ve killed each other since the beginning of our existence and we will probably be the cause of the end of our existence. I believe the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing many innocent people, before Jason Voorhees (the character, because he’s not real) killed his first victim. Hell, according to the Bible the third person in existence killed the fourth, and I highly doubt that thousands of years later some 15 year old kid trying to rebel against his parents by listening to Marilyn Manson was the cause of that murder. If we can figure out why some people beat their children to death, why someone would shoot a person because they have a different skin tone, and why we think it’s alright to send an 18 year old child, who knows nothing of life yet, into a war zone to come back wounded or not come back at all, then I’ll be happy to sit down and figure out why people watch a fictional movie that has violence in it. Sound like a plan Mr. Haneke?
Funny Games starts off with a rich family (played by Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, and some poor kid) driving to their lake house for a getaway. They are playing a game of trying to guess the operatic piece of music. Then instead of opera, we are forced to listen to the worst music ever made. A song called ‘Bonehead’ by Naked City, if I would have seen this movie in the theater, I would have walked right there because this song is like running your brain through a band saw. Is this symbolism? I don’t know because I’m too stupid to understand that word according to the director, but something in my primordial ooze filled skull sparks a ‘this be not good’ message. So the family drives past their friends with two strange young men with them. Something is off and they are acting strange. But the family pays no mind and goes to their house. This is where we can see Haneke trying as hard as he can to play the audience. He tries to set up the audience to hate the family because they are rich, by having them own a boat and buy too much steak. Haneke wants us to feel envious of them and I think he wants us to want them to get knocked down a peg and then when things go bad we are supposed to feel bad because we had a petty jealousy of them that he made specifically for us to feel about them. In one of the only good scenes in the movie, one of the killers comes in and asks for some eggs. He keeps dropping them and then asking for more and the scene gets pretty intense. It ends up with one of the guys breaking Tim Roth’s leg with a golf club. And it’s all downhill from here.
I will give the movie one thing; it has good acting in it. Especially Watts and Michael Pitt as Paul (one of the killers) I just wish they were in a different movie. So the killers start their games. Making the mother search for their dog that they killed by playing ‘warm or cold’. During this scene Paul looks back at the camera and smiles, breaking the fourth wall for the first time of many in this movie. Then the guys go on to play more games with the family including making the mother strip naked while they force a pillowcase over their child’s face. This is just an example of one of the horrible things that befall this family, while the killers make them bet if they will be able to survive until the next day. Again we get talked to directly when Paul says that he bets we are on their side. This is supposed to make us feel like we are a participant in the game, but since this is only a movie it doesn’t matter. The mother asks them why they don’t just kill them and they reply that we have forgotten the importance of entertainment. Wow, hit the nail on the head. You got us there Michael, you’ve figured out the reason people flocked to Schindler’s List, because they wanted to be entertained.
The killers continue to mince around and pretend to be nice, but eventually they shoot the son in the head. Luckily we don’t see this onscreen, but then we have to watch an almost 10 minute unbroken shot of Naomi Watts, who is in tied up in her underwear, hop around the room to turn off the blaring TV past the body of her child, whose blood is splattered all over the wall. We get to watch her husband beg for forgiveness for letting this happen and then we watch them sob. I almost turned the movie off at this point, but I didn’t think it would be fair of me to review a movie I’ve only seen part of. I didn’t watch it to the end because I needed the movie. I think the only person who needs this movie is Michael Haneke since he is the one who created the movie and then remade it the exact same way. And since Haneke has made other films with violence in them shouldn’t that make this a moot point? I’ve come to the conclusion that he is the Jigsaw of film directors.
The movie ends like you think it would. The killers do what they do best and then move on to the next family. Roll credits. The lights come up and I’m supposed to feel disgusted in myself for watching movies. I’m supposed to feel accountable for the countless film deaths of actors. I guess I’m supposed to feel like the director opened my eyes to the fact that some times, oh god, the green mile is so long. Before I end this review, I have to tell you what happened afterwards. I went to rent some more movies and return this one. At the counter, after the clerks 800th unsuccessful attempt to sell me one of their programs (seriously how many times do I have to say no before these people understand it) and he asked me what I thought of it. I told him that I thought it was stupid and I hated it. He told me he thought it was cool and went on to recommend it to the customer behind me. Hopefully the irony of that isn’t lost on Mr. Haneke.