Funny Games U.S.April 26, 2008
I approached Funny Games U.S. with a bit of trepidation…not because of the content of the film but because of the only other Haneke film that I had scene up to this point was Caché which I nearly fell asleep in and thought was very art-house…a fact held up for me since the majority of people that raved about this film seem to be quite pretentious. However, Funny Games is a different film altogether and it is certainly one that will keep your attention.
I haven’t seen the original release of Funny Games with the European cast and since I don’t read reviews I didn’t know until afterwards that this was an exact copy of this film with a Hollywood cast. There are some interviews here and here about the two films which explain the story and ideas around them and why he felt he had to remake it.
The acting is quite simply astounding- there are times where you simply cannot take your eyes off the screen. Naomi Watts is unforgettable here and has restored my faith in her acting ability after seeing her in Eastern Promises. Tim Roth is excellent as well as the weak husband/father and Michael Pitt shows what he is capable of with a good director. A surprise was the outstanding acting by Devon Gearhart as the son- there have been some excellent children actors lately which is great to see.
The cinematography is very good as well- quite often the camera is just left in one position while the action takes place around it which can be very effective in letting you take in all the details without seeing absolutely everything and letting your imagination work. There are moments as well where the fourth-wall is broken and Pitts character will ask the audience questions.
While not easy viewing this is really a film that has be viewed- descriptions don’t do this film justice.