Sunday, July 06, 2008

DVD Review: Funny Games (2007)

This 2007 remake of the 1998 thriller directed by Michael Haneke is a no-holds-barred view at modern society's fascination with violence. Just as the original, this version, also directed by Haneke, keeps you on edge long as you haven't already seen the original, that is. As it turns out, this version is a near shot-for-shot redeux ala that crappy Psycho remake with Vince Vaughn a few years ago. But what stands out here are the performances, particularly those of Naomi Watts and the two menacing teenagers, Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet. I mean, Julia Roberts commands how much money per picture? And she would never have been able to pull this performance off! Tim Roth is OK in the film, unless his character was supposed to be wimpy and flat, which in that case, he excelled.

The plot follows a well-to-do married couple and their young son heading off for a nice summer vacation at their vacation home on the lake. The lake community is rather remote, yet filled with tea-toddlers. As the couple opens up their summer abode, a fresh-faced young duo come a-calling. Always polite and seemingly wanting to help, the young duo kill with kindness...literally! As the family is taken hostage, the games begin, and no, they're not fun games. As the movie is a reflection of our love for violence, brilliantly, all of the violence happens off screen. Sound and the facial expressions of the actors tell you exactly what's going on and for the meek of heart, that's probably a good thing.

I thought Funny Games to be a good movie, although I admit, I didn't see the original, so I can't say that I would have liked it as much if I did. So, if you didn't see the original, then you should like the remake of Funny Games, but, you just may not like how the movie ends. I give Funny Games ***1/2 out of *****.