Funny Games(2007)(Review)[Weirdo Wednesday]

Austrian director Michael Haneke has been a name in the international circuit for quite some time. His movies are usually very dark and contemplative with an emphasis of holding a mirror up to the world. In 1997 he created ‘Funny Games’ and it was a smash hit, and exactly 10 years later he decided to do a US Remake. While both versions are fantastic, I’d argue that the US variant is my personal favorite.

When a family goes to their summer home in a harbor for a getaway (starring Michael Roth & Naomi Watts), their neighbors are outside with two strange men wearing white golf suits. As the family begins to unpack their belongings, these men arrive at their door asking to borrow some eggs. They are extremely polite and intelligent – and it’s not until some time has passed that we’ve become aware that this is a home invasion film.

The director wanted to flip the generic home invasion formula on its head by giving us smart characters all around, a claustrophobic sense of surroundings, and by making it more personal than simply a masked killer sneaking in through the back door. These ones knock on the front door and are invited in, and they are far more threatening than they appear.

They begin playing weird games such as “cat in the bag” and “the loving housewife” which all have a dark tone to them. The family is interrogated and humiliated to the point that we are complacent as the audience – including segments where the killers break the 4th wall to directly talk to the audience. It has a lot of pitch black humor and some of the director’s signature single takes (including one shot that is about 8 minutes long and features one of our protagonists slowly making their way off the floor and across the room while hogtied.)

It’s a film that I return to every year. I think it’s beautifully crafted, the US version is expertly acted, and the in-your-face attitude is alluring. The US remake is an actual shot-for-shot remake of the Austrian version by the same director, so while both features are identical and well done, I prefer the acting and the dialogue of the English version the best. It’s one of my top 10 favorite films of all time.


‘Funny Games’ is now available on Amazon Prime.

'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra

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