Sundance Review: Funny Games

January 24, 2008

  • US Release Date: March 14, 2008
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller
  • MPAA: Rated R (for terror, violence and some language)
  • Running Time: 107 minutes
  • Directed by: Michael Haneke
  • on IMDb
  •    8/10

Let's just get right into this. Funny Games is a remake of a 1997 film of the same name that's directed by the same filmmaker, Michael Haneke. The only change is that it's in English, not in German. I'm not going to be shy on my thoughts. People are going to HATE this movie, absolutely hate it (in fact, I think I even know one). There are more than a few reasons why, most of which I'm not going to mention for spoilers sake, but be warned. Funny Games twists your heart and screws with your emotions, and that's not even all that it does either.

In Funny Games, a family comprised of husband and wife George (Tim Roth) and Anna (Naomi Watts) and their son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) travel to their gated vacation home for a relaxing week. Nearly moments after they arrive, two presumably nice gentleman in white summer wear and white gloves show up at their door claiming to be friends of their neighbor. But alas it turns out these aren't the people you think they are, and before long they start to play some nasty "games", including betting that in 12 hours, none of them will be left alive.

This film is brutally relentless and devastating. If you can't handle horror movies or experimental independent cinema, don't even think of seeing this. It will rip your heart out and play with it all while you sit in awe, unable to move. It's brilliant but at the same time annoying. It breaks every rule of filmmaking and doesn't even come close to adhering to typical conventions - but that's why I love it so much. It's so damn unique, so damn entertaining, and will piss off so many people, that I've got to commend Michael Haneke for creating it.

While I wouldn't call it perfection or wouldn't even call it something I'd watch again, it gave me one hell of a thrill. I wouldn't say that I had that feeling in my stomach like some crazy shit was about to go down, but some crazy shit did go down. It's made to make you feel uncomfortable and to question everything, from the "no way" conclusion to the rule that it breaks as a movie. I would admit that I was left with almost a disgusted and "what the hell just happened" response, with thoughts of "these guys are insane" once the credits started rolling. But I'm sure that's what Michael Haneke was going for. And if that gets you excited, then maybe you should go see this. But watch out, it will probably piss you off, too.

Funny Games review

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  • horseloverFAt
    the only change is that it's in english and not in GERMAN!!!
  • Bill
    I loved the original and cannot wait to see the remake. Whether people adore it or hate it, this film will stick with them for years to come. BTW, is there a higher resolution image of that poster available? I love it.
  • d
    After reading the plot on the wiki of the German version, I won't be seeing this. To me it isn't just that it is unconventional... it is like the plot is derived of unconventional. Meaning "Hey what 10 things could we do in a movie that would just make people uncomfortable and hate it? Got those written down? Now make the plot of a movie around that, while I go get the puppies, kittens, infants, and the meat grinder, we've got a film to make!" (No nothing quite that bad happens... I made that up.) I'd comment on bits that I don't like, but that would be spoiler up-the-wazoo. Basically, no thanks.
  • jacobk
    god, that new poster is TERRIBLE.. why would they stop using the one with naomi watts crying D:
  • Heckle
    It is crap. Naomi Watts character blows away one of the killers..then the other killer gets a remote control and reverses it so they can both get away scot free. Yeah..that is a huge spoiler. BUT I WANT TO SPOIL THIS CRAP FILM. It is tripe. Pure torture porn. Go see a snuff film if that gets your jollies.
  • Nick
    Maybe this Heckle person hasn't seen the original, or just doesn't really get the point of the film. Either way, your loss.
  • Can't wait! I love Watts.
  • Yo, Heckle, that's a real asshole thing to do for people that HAVEN'T seen the German one.
  • Renee
    love or hate at least you FEEL SOMETHING. I'm so sick of everything being the 'same old thing' or a remake (yes, i realize this is a remake but at least it is by the same director and from what i hear just the language changes) Personally, I dont care if I even like a movie I'm proud if the director/actor/cinematographer took some chances or tried something different. think a little. put a little effort into it.
  • S
    And we wonder why there are so many people engaging in random violent acts. Movies like this one essentially encourage emotionally unstable people to act out in ways they imagine will get them acclaim.
  • Bradd
    Really looking forward to Haneke's reamke of his 1997 crime thriller Funny Games. Such a great movie, and I think it should be interesting to see the differnces between the two...Here's a link to a spoof trailer that someone made for Kubrick's The Shining using the official trailer for the new Funny Games trailer as it premise. Very cool!
  • john
    This film is totally shit! What a waste of my life
  • Jeff
    It's great seeing a movie get so many people riled up. Look at these posts, one guy even gets so mad at the movie that he gives away the entire ending in his frustration. Two thumbs up. This film is pure entertainment. Dark, Sadistic, unfair, over-the-top, rude entertainment. This movie breaks all the rules and it does it in style. I love how he's staring into the camera giving the audience a "you have no idea what you're in for" type of look. Pure Genius! I saw the German version about a decade ago, loved the remake even more. Kudos!
  • Strayf
    I would scoop my eyes out with red hot tea spoons before i watched this crap of the worst i've seen...ever. Pretentious director, shithouse D.O.P, well below standard writing. How did they get Roth and Watts! A true career buster...hope i never seen "Paul" or "Peter" onscreen again. It's a glossy "B" grade horror...seriously...imagine if Watts and Roth weren't in it! OMFG...




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