With Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt, Bradly Corbet and Tim Roth.
“Why don’t you just kill us?”
“You shouldn’t forget the importance of entertainment.”
Thanks to Marshall’s F.I.L.M. of the week, I set out to watch this film ASAP.
“Funny Games” is a very disturbing film that takes an upper class, intellectual couple George (Tim Roth) and Anne (Naomi Watts) and their young son’s innocence away. They are arriving to their summer cabin, and along the way in the car they are playing classical music and having each other guess what it is. This doesn’t really seem fun to us because I don’t know how many people actually do that, is this away to emotionally detach ourselves from the couple?
They arrive at their neighbor’s front gate and see them standing in the front yard talking to two young men dressed all in white. They hold a slight conversation with their neighbors and then drive to their own home questioning themselves about the two young men dressed in white.
As the simplicity of the opening of the film plays out it’s quickly taken away when one of these young men comes over to get some eggs for George and Anne’s neighbor. The film takes a very serious tone of violence, terror and horrible things from here on out.
I would like to equate the films themes and message of random acts of violence and terror to our American society – but I can’t make it concrete because Michael Haneke made the original “Funny Games” in 1997 in Germany but I think the argument still can be made.
I’m still not sure how to entirely feel about the film. I understand what it’s achieving and trying to achieve by the acts of violence and humiliation and the lack of a cohesive narrative. Most of what happens in the film is predictable, we pretty much know what’s going to happen, yet the way Haneke films it, and the way the actors play the parts to perfection – we are still left completely attentive and we are completely taken with the actions on screen.
The acting in the film is excellent. I’ve always liked Naomi Watts due to how fearless she is when she picks roles. Sure she’s been in the fluffy pappy crap films, but she’s also invested herself into some film that I don’t think a lot of actress would do – “Mulholland Dr.”, “21 Grams” and “Funny Games”. Watts bears everything she has in this role that must have been so incredibly emotionally draining.
I was really impressed with Tim Roth. I wasn’t sure how his character of George was going to be developed, and I wasn’t sure how long his character would be in the film. I think Roth’s physical acting in the film ranks up there with Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain” and Robert DeNiro in “Jackie Brown”. He isn’t given a plethora of dialogue, but the emotion that he lets flow through his body is certainly something to be admired.
I have never been a fan of Michael Pitt, I think he’s weird and a shitty Christopher Walken knock off. I hated him and Bradly Corbet in the film. I couldn’t stand how they looked, how they talked, what they said, and their vocabulary – but then again, aren’t you supposed to hate everything about them?
I’m really not sure what to think about a lot of the film, but I’m certainly glad I watched it. I really enjoy the long shot opening, the simplicity of these somewhat snobbish upper class people who are playing this classical music guessing game, then once the title “Funny Games” appears on screen we hear nothing but hard metal music until the credits are over. I liked that. I’m still not sure if I like Michael Pitt’s character breaking the fourth wall or not (meaning looking directly into the camera and addressing us, the audience).
This film does have a feel of European filmmaking. It’s a lot like a Lars von Trier or a Thomas Vinterberg film – it’s very realistic. It doesn’t romanticize a lot of things, it is what it is, and things are what they are. No apologies and no bullshit. The world we live in is violent and terrifying just like most of Trier and Vinterberg’s films.
This film won’t appeal to masses what-so-ever, and only a small percentage of “film buffs” will enjoy watching this (although I can’t say I enjoyed watching it, but I appreciate it and I’m glad I saw it). This film sets out to mind fuck you, and only really has one goal in mind – to terrorize the fuck out of you.