movie film review | chris tookey

Funny Games

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  Funny Games Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
6.67 /10
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Directed by: Michael Haneke
Written by: Michael Haneke

Released: 1998
Origin: Austria
Colour: C
Length: 103


A pleasant, civilised, friendly, middle-class family on holiday in the European equivalent of the Norfolk Broads is terrorised, tortured (mentally and physically) and killed by two apparently polite but cold and remorseless young men (Frank Goering and Arno Frisch). Why? Simply for kicks, and to give the young men a feeling of their own power.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Funny Games was, by a wide margin,the outstanding foreign-language film of 1998. It was also the most suspenseful, wickedly intelligent thriller since The Vanishing. It is not for the faint-hearted. Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke’s film is horribly authentic in its portrayal of late twentieth-century psychosis.
The reason the film is important and profound, however, is that it examines a much more widespread psychosis in society’s and cinema’s attitudes towards violence. There’s more than a hint that the young men are doing it for the audience’s entertainment; and this is the factor which gives the piece added creepiness.
The film is an unpalatable but necessary antidote to the daily diet of movies which trivialise violence and are drugging, if not poisoning, an entire generation.
The violence in Funny Games - which occurs offscreen and is none the less upsetting for that - has all the painful impact of true crime, and it comes as a shock to be reminded in the cinema of this reality.
The cumulative tension of the plotting and horribly real performances - especially by Susanne Lothar as the wife - make no concessions to movie cliche or audience wish-fulfilment, and create a terror that is almost unbearable. Seldom has a great film been so difficult to watch.

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