movie film review | chris tookey

Hidden/ Cache

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  Hidden/ Cache Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
8.03 /10
Anne Laurent: Juliette Binoche , Georges Laurent: Daniel Auteuil
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Directed by: Michael Haneke
Written by: Michael Haneke

Released: 2005
Origin: France/ Austria/ Germany
Colour: C
Length: 117

Hidden is that rarity among modern art-house movies: an artistic masterpiece, that’s important, thought-provoking and expands the horizons of cinema.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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It’s about an upmarket, arty, liberal French couple (superbly acted by Daniel Auteuil, pictured centre, and Juliette Binoche, right) who are quietly terrorised by someone sending them videos – first of the outside of their home, then of the house where Auteuil’s character was born, then... well, I won’t spoil it for you.

The build-up of tension, suspense and menace is worthy of Hitchcock at his best, and director Michael Haneke reveals the same quality he exhibited in the extremely frightening Funny Games of making us empathise with his flawed leading characters as they find themselves under attack.

Some critics have called this film “cold”, because of its clinical detachment and air of creepiness, but that’s misleading. I defy anyone to watch Hidden and not become involved with the husband and wife at its centre.

The less you know about this film, the more you’ll enjoy it. It works as a conventional thriller, with one or two extremely nasty shocks, but it’s also adventurous in the way Haneke plays with form – often, we’re unsure if we’re watching something happen, or watching a tape of something happen, which helps us to identify with the leading characters’ uneasiness at being under surveillance.

Hidden also raises important issues, in a far more subtle and subversive way than Munich does.

It is one of the best movies I’ve seen about the casual cruelty of children – and teenagers, come to that. It shatters the smugness of liberals who favour liberalism as long as it doesn’t impinge on their own interests. And it raises awkward questions about post-colonialism and immigration that not only the French have been slow to confront.

I would urge you to catch Hidden on the big screen if you can. Haneke reveals – or rather, strongly hints at – who sent the threatening tapes in his very last shot of steps outside a building, but if you are not looking at the appropriate area of the screen (over to the left) you might easily miss it.

Haneke clearly doesn’t care much if you notice it or not, and is never one for cosy endings that restore a sense of balance and normalcy. His point is not so much that a particular person sent the tapes – it is that we all have secrets to hide, we could get found out at any time, and every one of us is, to a greater or lesser extent, a victim of our own secrets and hypocrisies. You don’t have to be Mark Oaten, MP, to find that message unnerving.

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