Reviewed by Nomad
Starring Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart
Directed by Michael Haneke
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Recently, there has been a rash of films released where you enter into it knowing the bulk of what happens. The suspense is supposed to come from how things go down. We trust the director to set a pace, be that fast and frantic or slow and brooding, to lock us into our seats for the duration. Overall, if we aren’t locked in and caring about the lives of our heroes within the first 15 minutes, there is little hoping that will change. Funny Games is a film plagued with this malady.
First off, I am not rich, so it is hard for me to pity rich people right off the bat. I don’t understand the odd things they do like leaving houses unlocked and entertaining strangers even if they met them for two seconds. Secondly, the first character on the victims’ side of things that we really get to know comes off as a bit of a bitch, which certainly doesn’t help to garner sympathy from us when the proverbial shit hits the fan. I’ll sum up with one last problem for me. When you don’t like the good guys, you are left with the bad, and in Funny Games our two villains are so ridiculously unappealing, obnoxious and boring that I would have liked to leave the movie altogether. To add to their obnoxiousness, one baddie periodically breaks the fourth wall like some sadistic Zack Morris in a very bloody episode of “Saved By The Bell“. I don’t even like them talking to their victims … why would I want them talking to me?!
Funny Games is a slow roll down a gravel driveway. Sure, any number of things can pop out of the bushes, and the sound of the tires rolling over each rock is different, but that’s not enough to make me want to watch this car roll for an hour, much less almost two. Funny Games also gets very artistic at times, so now picture the sound of the car rolling but the camera is pointed at a tree nearby…for 10 minutes. The next shot is a close-up of the car door. The next, hands on the steering wheel. I’ve got nothing against art house films, but in this movie it seems an awkward fit. I will mention that all the acting in this film is top notch; it’s just that you won’t care. You believe Watts and Roth are genuinely upset by every humiliation and painful experience they endure, but it doesn’t amount to peril. It seems as much as I could believe that they were upset, I never bought that they were in danger, or I didn’t care. Whichever the case, it makes the entire movie hard to sit through as that is the whole damn movie.
We are allowed one blistering nail-biting chase scene when a little boy breaks free from his captors, but then we are seemingly punished for it with an excruciating scene (and I shit you not) of a woman getting herself up off the floor for what seemed like an eternity. Honestly, If I didn’t have to review it, I would have quit right there. Funny Games is a thoroughly boring exercise in bringing artistic film school camera angles to an overly glossy “horror” film. Good for them; not good for you.
As for extras, you get the privilege of being able to watch this film in widescreen or fullscreen. YAY! That’s all there is. I’ll assume whoever put the disk together thought you’d already endured enough torture yourself. Game over.
2 out of 5
0 out of 5