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The Best Movie You Shouldn't See: Funny Games is vile done right

I have warned people not to see this movie. Funny Games is one of the most disturbing films ever made, destined to stay with you for days if not weeks.

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Smells like a bit of ultra violence.
  • Smells like a bit of ultra violence.
Smells like a bit of ultra violence.
I have warned people not to see this movie. Funny Games is one of the most disturbing films ever made, destined to stay with you for days if not weeks. My pleas of "avoid at all costs" have inadvertently sparked curiosity and interest in the film, which is good because people should see this movie. And that's director Michael Haneke's intention with this shot-by-shot remake of his provocative and frightening German film of the same name. His original intention was to expose the mind-numbing violence that permeates our mainstream films, in doing so he makes us completely aware of what we're watching and feeling. Rather than desensitizing-it's OVER-sensitizing. The result is a relentless mental overload that will stick with you. Just try to shake off the creepiness...

I don't want to give anything away, since I feel it's important to see this sinister flick raw and new. The overall plot goes something like this: a vacationing couple (Tim Roth, Naomi Watts) and their young son (Devon Gearhart) go to an idyllic island community for sailing, rest and relaxation. What they get is bullying and torment, both physically and psychologically from two ultra "nice" yuppie creeps wearing white gloves (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbett).

Most of the violence occurs off-screen while we see only a reaction shot or a look at something completely unrelated.

The remake is more darkly lit than its predecessor. Oddly, the most powerful scene was cut short and shot closer, making it less engaging. The original version was shot in a wider scope and held excruciatingly long, making you want to jump into the screen and do something.

The acting is impeccable throughout. Watts, Roth and Gearhart subject themselves to overdoses of fear, disbelief, anger, pain, anguish, suffering - you name it. Meanwhile, the wry and sardonic pair of cat and mouse tormentors play it soft, clean and clever, adding more frustration to the entire fiasco.

Haneke takes us on a journey that proves to be an assault on our feelings and terrors. Then even more, he messes with our minds, daring us to explore our rationale for watching his work. He literally forces you not to take your eyes off the pain and suffering (like staring at a bad roadside accident), adding to the nausea and fear you experience alongside the tormented victims. With a few "out of moment" tricks, Haneke even invites us to be part of the movie, an invitation at the most vile level. If we decide to stay, like the family being tortured on screen...we get what we deserve.

I highly recommend this movie, even after telling the most fearless and bravest of heart that it might not be for them. It's definitely not for the emotionally squeamish or those prone to bad dreams. This one might destroy you. Be strong if you go. This is the absolute embodiment of nightmarish. You've been warned.


Funny Games ★★★★✩

Starring Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, Devon Gearhart, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbett. Directed by: Michael Haneke

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