"Pretentious and Despicable"
FUNNY GAMES is one of the most despicable movies ever made. It is a pretentious, sadistic thriller intended to make a phony statement against media violence by showing in graphic detail the psychological torture of a family by two psychotic young men.
The movie opens with a middle class family, Ann, George and their son Georgie, on their way to their summer vacation home by a lake. Arriving at the lake, they greet their neighbor Fred, who seems strangely agitated as he introduces them to a young man named Paul, wearing white golfing gloves.
Ann begins making dinner while George and Georgie fool around with the sailboat they brought with them. Paul’s younger brother or friend, Peter (the movie is unclear), suddenly drops by to borrow some eggs, but his behavior is strange. He manages to break the four eggs Ann gives him and accidentally drops her cell phone into a sink full of water. Though aggravated, Ann gives Peter four more eggs, and he leaves.
Paul suddenly shows up to admire George’s golf clubs. Ann nervously gives him permission to try out one of the clubs. Out in the yard, the family’s dog keeps barking at Paul but is suddenly silent.
Paul and Peter show up at the house again to return the golf club, whereupon Peter claims that the dog jumped on him and broke the other eggs Ann had given him. At that point, Ann’s husband, George, and son show up. Ann becomes angry to the point of hysteria and orders Paul and Peter out of the house. Unaware of what’s been happening, George fails to support his wife and, upset, she leaves the room.
With Ann out of the room, Paul becomes sarcastic and demanding about the eggs to George, and George slaps him. Angrily, Paul smashes the golf club against George’s knee, upsetting his son and Ann, who rushes back into the room to find out what happened.
Paul and Peter hold the family prisoner, violently ushering them into the living room. There, Paul increases his psychological torture and humiliation of Ann, George and their son, to terrible lengths. He bets them that they will all be dead by the morning.
There are outbursts of violence in FUNNY GAMES, but most of the violence involves sadistic psychological torture. Paul viciously taunts the family and, in a Brechtian bid to break the fourth wall, the audience itself. You’re probably rooting for them, Paul tells viewers at one point.
The filmmaker, Michael Haneke, claims that he’s trying to show “the reality of violence” and the pain it brings to victims. He also claims that this movie is a reaction against the violence in American cinema, “the way American cinema toys with human beings.”
This is pseudo-intellectual baloney. Haneke never asks himself, So what? And, he never gives viewers a clue as to how they’re supposed to respond to the pain he presents. Thus, the only thing he accomplishes in the viewer is buyer’s remorse for being asked to pay for sitting through such a despicable movie. The actors involved should be ashamed of wasting their talents.
(HHH, AbAb, LL, VVV, SS, N, D, MMM) Very strong humanist worldview with sadistic nihilism, plus psychotic killer mocks belief in morality and God, with prayer going unanswered, which indicates that the movie supports the killer’s mockery; 19 obscenities (including some “f” words) and two to four profanities and killer mocks religious belief; very strong intense, sadistic violence with several off-screen deaths but including images of blood on walls and TV screen, young man hits older man’s knee with golf club, sadistic violent threats of death such as young man wraps T-shirt around boy’s head to force mother to strip, fighting, woman fires shotgun at young man’s chest and bullet shown hitting chest and driving young man against wall, boy fires shotgun at young man but shotgun is not loaded, boy killed by shotgun off screen but blood splatter shown on wall and TV with part of boy’s dead body shown with no blood, dog’s dead body flops onto ground from SUV, people tied up, and young man nonchalantly pushes tied and gagged woman out of boat, implying drowning; sadistic voyeurism depicted; woman in underwear and bra and woman forced to strip but nothing shown after that; no alcohol; brief smoking; and, family held prisoner, psychotic young men play vicious mind games, and family viciously humiliated and taunted throughout most of movie.
FUNNY GAMES is a sadistic, pretentious thriller. It opens with a middle class family, Ann, George and their son Georgie, on their way to their vacation home on the lake. Arriving at the lake, they greet their neighbor Fred, who seems strangely agitated as he introduces them to a young man named Paul, wearing white golfing gloves. Later, Paul and his younger brother or friend, Peter (the movie is not clear), terrorize the family, holding them prisoner while they psychologically torture and humiliate them. Paul bets them that they will be dead by the morning.
Writer, director Michael Haneke claims he’s trying to show “the reality of violence” and the pain it causes. He also claims this movie is a reaction against the violence in American cinema. He never asks himself, however, So what? And, he never gives viewers a clue regarding how they’re supposed to respond to the pain that he presents. Thus, the only thing he accomplishes in the viewer is buyer’s remorse for being asked to pay for sitting through this despicable movie. The actors also should be ashamed of wasting their talents on this.