‘Funny Games’ Is Anything but Funny

Sharese Mirzakhanyan

A vacation to a summer home is usually full of enjoyment and laughter. But for one family, it will be the last trip they ever take.

“Funny Games” will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire movie.

Two psychotic men, Paul, (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbet), introduce themselves to the family as friends of the neighbors, and then hold the family hostage in their own home, and force them into violent games.

The torment begins when Peter knocks on the door asking for eggs. Having no idea that Paul and Peter had already killed the neighbors and that they were their next target, Anne allows them into the house. Before the family realizes the psychotic men’s motive, they are imprisoned in their own home and terribly tormented by the two psychotic men.

Director Michael Haneke (“Caché”), who also wrote the screenplay of “Funny Games,” was basically born into show business. He is the son of Fritz Haneke, a director, and Beatrix von Degenschild, an actress. Haneke had first originated this film in German, but decided to modify it in English because he believed it is closer to American society.

In “Funny Games,” Haneke illustrates his modern obsession with cinematic brutality through the story of a happy family that’s persistently tortured.

The actors give spectacular performances and portray their characters in the best possible manner. Naomi Watts (“The Painted Veil”) who plays Anne gives an unbelievable performance, where you can feel the pain and sorrow her character is going through. George (Tim Roth, “Dark Water”), Anne’s husband, is a powerless man who cannot protect his family. Devon Gearhart (“Dog Days of Summer”) who plays the son, Georgie, is truly amazing; for a child of his age to put so much emotion into his role is remarkable.

Even after the movie is over you’ll feel gloomy and unsettled.
Movies today focus more on gore and less on scares. The violence works in this movie and makes it even more disturbing because audiences can visualize the worse possible scenario.

Unlike other directors, Haneke includes the viewer in the movie. Paul (Michael Pitt) turns around and speaks to the audience – making you feel like you are actually there. You are subconsciously sucked into the movie and feel great hatred towards Paul and Peter.

Although some may agree that this is a great tactic used by the director, it splits your train of thought. You may be so focused on what is happening in the movie and out of nowhere, one of the characters is talking to you. This is definitely something not all viewers will be able to stand. This is a movie you will either like or dislike.

Afterthought is a key element when it comes to films; directors want you to walk out of the movie theater with different scenes replaying over and over in your mind. Haneke does a splendid job of this in this movie.

“Funny Games” is one of the most disturbing films I have seen, however, it was technically impressive; everything from the direction, to the mind-blowing performances of all the actors, to the cinematography and use of sounds- the music played in different scenes to set the tone and the and realistic sounds of objects used.

Because “Funny Games” avoids gruesome images, our emotions become more fully engaged, where we cannot seem to stand the pain and helplessness of the victims. Whereas in a movie such as “Hostel,” your emotions are not in play because all you expect to see are clips of bloodshed.

As unsettling as it may sound, incidents like this happen in reality. I would recommend this movie. Although it may not interest you at first, the remarkable acting will leave you in awe.

Production Companies
Halcyon Pictures UK, Tartan Films, Celluloid Dreams, X-Filme Creative Pool, Ruby Red

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Rating: R for terror, violence, and language.

2.5 stars out of 4