Games People Play
Reviewed by Arch for Funny Games at 2012-01-08 21:47:53
Does "Funny Games" meet the criteria for "nasty little flick"? Test 1: Half-way through, the viewer looks at watch and realises, "Another hour of this to go." Test 2: The viewer thinks, "I should be pondering the higher meaning of this, instead of concentrating on the action - is it one of those Clockwork Orange things?" So is "Funny Games" more of an American experience than a Central European experience? I don't think so. My guess is that many Americans would feel frustrated: "Why isn't someone kicking #!@%*#?" So what might these "Central European insights" be? Here are 11 obvious answers - you want more than 11? - write your own. #1: It's a metaphor for how the Nazis sneakily trapped Germany's Jews into a Holocaust of gradually escalating horror. #2: It's a metaphor for the trivial grievances and sickening violence of the Baader-Meinhof Gang (Gang? Who? Goto Uri Edel's brilliant semi-documentary, "The Baader Meinhof Complex"). #3: It's an exploration of "values-free" postmodernism (Foucault, etc) - what happens when "common human decency" is deemed to have no meaning? #4: "Pure logic" is by its nature treacherous. There is no such thing as pure logic anyway. #5: Once we've created the most over-privileged generation in history, and they have "everything going for them", where can they go next? #6: Inside each one of us lurks a smiling sadist and/or a cringing victim (inside every Doctor Jekyll a Mr Hyde). #7: It's a movie about movie-making, a sort of ghastly antithesis of Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories". #8: Movies are about manipulation, you fools! (the audience is trapped into a "gotcha" moment, only to have it reversed and replayed). You're "empathising with the characters"? Wrong answer! #9: The meaning of life is that life has no meaning - with the casual and passionless execution of victims. #10: Storytelling is about inserting a single non-realistic element into an otherwise meticulously realistic presentation. #11: Storytelling is really about dragging the (willing?) audience way past the "too long and drawn-out already" point. Phew! All this intellectual pontificating aside, "Funny Games" will be for some viewers an intensely involving experience, with classic horror mechanisms, snappy editing, and a nifty surprise ending. But you may come away with the feeling that Michael Haneke is altogether too talented for his own good.
If you don't get it, you aren't watching close enough.
Excellent piece dealing with deeper layers of reality. Funny too.
Not everything needs to be watered down for every audience. The Retriever is completely off on this one.
What worries me the most about this deranged masterpiece is how freaked-out I was by the end of it. As the credits began to roll, I realized I was actually shaking. Because the whole purpose of surrealism is individual subjectivity, the movie may not resound as much with other viewers. But to me, it was like the film was prodding around in my brain, picking out my subconscious fears, and subtly projecting them onto the screen. It's certainly a movie that you'll either love or hate. Those who love it will inevitably watch it numerous times, viewing it as a deeply personal film; those who hate it will disregard it as a piece of random trash. I'm unquestionably in the former category.
The film excels at action both inside Africa and in Manhattan. It however aspires for more than it ultimately can deliver. Note the references to Heart of Darkness throughout. Naomi Watts does superb work here, making you believe that she has feelings with the gorilla. BTW, the lack of chemistry between Watts and Brody hurts worse than serious Jack Black (not half bad).
I love every scene in 'King Kong', but I can admit the thing is too long. Ultimately, it feels like the Extended DVD versions of Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' movies: It's all good stuff, but some of it really should have been cut out for the theatrical release. And yet, there's an extended version of THIS kicking around? I would actually love to see it, because I really enjoyed 'King Kong'; it's just that, unlike the theatrical release of 'Return of the King', it actually feels its length. Better watched in two installments, but I love it.
Disagree with the Hound on this one....excellent flick
Reviewed by KHL for Stay at 2008-10-15 12:23:04
This is a 'multiple viewings' movie; having only seen it once, I am already wanting to see it again to pick up what I missed the first time around. Beautifully, artfully directed story about characters who don't seem to have a grip on what their own reality is. Kind of like Shyamalan, it's hard to describe much else, except to say that it's a stellar cast, riveting performances and mesmerizing to watch.
My wife's review
Reviewed by CoolerKing for King Kong at 2008-04-04 10:25:01
My wife's summary of the problems with Peter Jackson's King Kong was "More Monkey, Less Bull****", and I can't agree more. Everything with Kong is sublime, but everything else - all of the expanded moments from the original that Jackson let run rampant - make the film dull, unfocused, and way overlong. Oh no, the spider pit scene was cut from the original? Maybe there was a reason. Amazing moments buried beneath self-indulgent crap.