George, his wife Anne, their son, Georgie and their
dog arrive at their lake house. They are introduced to a young
man, Paul. A short time later, Paul accompanied by another
young man, Peter arrives to borrow eggs from Anne and then
refuses to leave.
Paul and Peter kill the family's dog and break George's leg
with a golf club. Then the two man take the family hostage.
They force the family to participate in a number of sadist
games. Paul asks the family to bet if they will still be alive
by 9 o'clock the next morning. Both Paul and Peter say that
they probably will bet on the family being dead.
During a scuffle that night, Georgie escapes and tries to
seek help from the house next door...
There are films which are made to entertain the masses, and
then there are films which are made to provoke the niche audience
in the least enjoyable manner. German filmmaker Michael Haneke
made a controversial thriller Funny Games in 1997, and ten
years later, he remakes his own work in a shot by shot manner,
only changing the setting to the US (hence the title, get
it?). While this reviewer has never watched the original,
he has seen Haneke’s award winning The Piano Teacher
(2001) and Hidden (2005). And while he lets Haneke’s
latest work play on the DVD player, he is well aware of the
eventual coldness he will be left with after the film’s
movie a follows a middle-class family as they give in physically
and mentally to two young and unexpected visitors while they
are on a holiday at a house near a lake. They are tortured
violently with games that the two men came up with. And guess
what? The audience is part of it as the two white gloved men
being speaking to you (yes, you who are keeping your eyes
glues on the screen) in the most unexpected manner.
synopsis may sound like a typical thriller, but the approach
to telling this story is definitely not for audiences who
prefer the movies with straightforward narratives. While academics
can write about how this movie is a depiction of how violence
is depicted in the media, one can also view it as a chilling
psychodrama as the victims are subjected to off screen violence
that will have you squirm in fear.
Naomi Watts (Eastern Promises, The Painted Veil) and Tim Roth
(The Incredible Hulk, Dark Water) playing the unfortunate
couple, you will sympathize with the torture they have to
go through. And with relatively unknowns Michael Pitt (Silk)
and Bradt Corbet (Mysterious Skin) playing the two game masters,
you get the gripping horror they send down the victims’
prepared for a very unconventional story treatment here as
the bad guys turn to the screen and bet with you that the
couple will die by 9am in the morning. They even have the
power to get the remote control the rewind the movie a little
to change the fates of the victims. This may not be everyone’s
cup of tea, and as the credits roll playing Naked City’s
“Bonehead”, you’ll either be left cold or
impressed by the storyteller’s ingenuity.
This Code 3 disc contains no special features.
visual transfer is what you get from a typical DVD, and the
picture is presented in its original English audio track.
Review by John Li