Movie of the Day – Funny Games
May 31, 2011 Leave a comment
It’s all fun and games until someone starts holding everyone hostage. Yeah I am aware that the opening statement is a cheesy one, but this is not a game that people want to play. Funny Games is a psychological thriller that is a remake of the 1997 Austrian film of the same name and by the same director coincidentally. Michael Haneke remade his own movie, changing the language to English and setting the characters of the movie in America. I am not sure as to why this movie needed a shot for shot remake, especially by the same director. The overall result though is, in my opinion, a better version than the original, due in large part to Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Michael Pitt.
The movie starts with the loving Farber family and their trip to the lake house. Upon arriving they notice their next door neighbor with two young men, whom they assume are friends or relatives. The two men come over and introduce themselves to George and Ann as well as their son Georgie. They ask to borrow some eggs and also George’s golf club. Soon they return asking for more eggs after they broken all the ones that Ann gave them. Again the eggs are broken and they come back wanting more, but this time Ann and George become frustrated and try to force them to leave. Paul (the main instigator of the boys) break George’s leg with the golf club and they hold the family hostage.
Paul and Peter decide to play a game with the family members. Paul asks to bet the family that they will be alive by 9:00 in the morning, although Paul and Peter both doubt they will survive the game. What takes places is a psychological cat and mouse game where one side holds all the cards and the other side fights to just make it through the night.
Funny Games preys upon the fear of the unknown. Much like Last House on the Left or even The Strangers, Funny Games is about surviving the unknown. For me, the best thing about this movie is the unknown motives of Peter and Paul. Even during relatively small conversations not much is ever known about the two assailants. Their motives are just that they want to play a game with the family lives at stake.
Haneke does inject some humor into the dark nature of the movie. Several points during the movie, Peter and Paul break the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera or acknowledging that this is a movie and can be manipulated as such. Paul at one point finds the remote control and rewinds the movie to a point before a bad decision doesn’t go their way. These little bits of breaking the fourth wall add to the madness of the movie. It makes it refreshing and interesting to watch while we see a horrific story take place.
I am going to say that movie doesn’t have a happy ending. So take that as you will. The movie is available on Netflix Instant Stream so give it a look.