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Funny Games (1997 film)

2 Ratings: 3.5
Austrian director Michael Haneke's shocking thriller about a family held hostage.

   Funny Games is a 1997 Austrian psychological thriller film directed and written by Michael Haneke. The plot of the film involves two young men who hold a family hostage and torture them with sadistic games. The film was entered into the … see full wiki

Director: Michael Haneke
Genre: Crime, Drama, Foreign, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: May 14, 1997
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Funny Games (1997 film)

I was captured while watching this

  • Apr 25, 2007
The "games" in this movie, are not funny. Not one whole minute of this movie is funny. It is unsettling, intense, and ironic at parts. The plot is simple. A family of three (four, counting the dog) are taking a vacation at a serene looking spot near a lake. But even during the opening credits, we well know that the tone of the film is anything but serene as John Zorn's crazy death metal blares at you all of a sudden in a creepy frenzy of buzzing guitars, high-pitched screams, and incoherent lyrics that assaults your senses! Not even ten minutes into the film, the family meets two strangers who claim to be friends of the neighbors, in which they apparently force their way into their home and force them to play their fiendish "games."

The cast in this film is terrific! Our leads Susann Lothar and Ulrich Muhe are compelling in their roles of the mother and father forced to endure mental and physical torture from their captors. The Stefan Clapczynski who plays the little boy is effective as an innocent who is helpless to defend himself or his family. Arno Frisch is ruthless and brilliant in his role of the sadistic leader of the two, Paul (or Jerry, or Butt-head). Frank Giering is creepy in his role of Paul's sidekick Peter (or Fatty, Fatso, Tom, or Beavis). To add to the creepiness of the film, the leader Paul, occasionally shifts his glance to the camera, and either winks at it, or makes us, as an audience, participate in the film saying quotes like, "You're on their side, aren't you?" This approach disturbed me and actually made me think that I had no power to stop these sickos! Very few movies have that effect on me nowadays.

Even though the directing is top-notch you'll encounter some slow spots in the middle of film. I found it interesting that in the most violent scenes of the movie, the camera went somewhere else, or shifted to the person doing the violence, rather than actually showing the bloodshed. So all you gore fans might not be impressed by this. The limited blood didn't faze me as much and even the subtitles seemed to vanish as I watched with anticipation of a rescue that vanishes again and again. It was the content of the film that impressed me. Most of the film seems to be filmed in real-time, which only increases the intensity of the family's suffering and several sequences are incredibly difficult to watch. "Funny Games" literally is a devastating cinematic experience and definitely not intended for all types of viewers.

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