Funny Games was certainly thought-provoking. Haneke seems to have enough knowledge of film to infuse this movie (and most of his films to be honest) with a whole range of plays on established conventions within the thriller genre. And these on the whole worked quite well. I found the intellectual argument he puts forward less convincing though. It appears his view is that we are all advocates of violence. The 'rewind' scene sets up the conventional retribution that normally proceeds the kidnap and torture sequences (see Straw Dogs etc). He doesn't allow us that outlet however, although he draws attention to it, thereby allowing us to examine that desire further. And the conclusion, one can draw. Yes, we call for acts of wanton violence to be administered upon arbiters of violent acts. There is a further link, I feel, he is trying to make from this position and that is this desire to see violence administered is somehow responsible for the violent world we live in. (There is, of course, another line of argument running through the film about the true visceral nature of violence but that's for another post) I don't feel this is credible however. When a cinema audience calls for blood in a movie, I feel it is from a position of being completely aware that the narrative they are viewing is an artifice. People aren't going to be really killed. Hence, they can observe the violence being carried out in a 'comic' manner (bad guys getting shot in Westerns without a bullet hole appearing etc) and not have their disbelief in the fantasy world of the film suspended. This isn't misleading I feel, and doesn't inure people to the reality of how brutal and ugly real violence is. After all if one takes that approach then one can argue that Tom and Jerry cartoons suffer from the same problem. I think where he may have a point, is in the manipulation of actual real-life events to make them less unsettling to an audience. I'm thinking of the Western news reports of Iraq, where disturbing footage of atrocities are cut so the Western viewer doesn't become upset or disturbed about what they're watching. This DOES desensitise the viewer to what war is about because the fact/fiction boundary has been crossed and we can't fall back on the intellectual safety nets I talked about earlier. And why is that a bad thing? Because our government is committing these acts and we have a duty to see the full horror of what they are doing in our name. Any thoughts?
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Two violent young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.
May 12, 2020