September 11, 2015

Funny Games

Michael Haneke, 1997
There is inexplicable evil in the world. We have seen it in the headlines, have to endure stories of home invasions, torture, assault, etc. We try to come up with explanations for people's horrible behavior. Their abusive upbringing, past sexual abuse, lack of a father figure.

Funny Games quickly introduces you to family trio of Anna, Georg and their young son in their car on their way to their vacation home in the country. As they try to guess classical pieces playing on CD's, you see that they are a classy family that enjoy each others company. When they arrive at the home, you see that they want nothing more than to just let loose and spend some time relaxing, once again in each others company. The walls and gate at the end of the driveway almost seem completely unnecessary, as the surrounding inhabitants look they should all belong to a country club. And they probably do.

But when the evil couple works their way into the home, everything about their intentions feels icy cold and calculating. You've already grown to like the family of three, what's not to like? You even like their dog. But what transpires is pure evil. A rigidly tense sequences of events of unforgiving brutality. The scariest people in the world are undoubtedly the ones who have nothing to lose. In a way the sinister duo here are more frightening, because they are seemingly one of the more accurate depictions of pure sociopaths ever put on film. When the fourth wall is broken, it sends chills down your spine. You will spend a portion of the film questioning possible missed opportunities, probably playing out the scenario in your head of what you would do. But we don't really know do we? Until it happens to us, and after watching a film like this you will certainly be locking your doors at night. But is it enough? Is that what's the most horrifying part about this movie? These people, like the pair here, if they weren't able to work their way through the gate... would they have given up? One would assume no. Sometimes you are just the unlucky one that left a light on at the wrong time. Wrong place, wrong time. Wrong week to take a vacation. Sometimes it's not just about someone feeling wronged in some way. Sometimes it's completely impersonal. As mentioned earlier, there is pure evil in the world. There are some people walking the earth who are just downright maniacal. We all like to believe that we live in a world where there is a certain sense of justice. Funny Games is one of the more terrifying films ever made because it challenges the conventions.

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