Page Index Toggle Pages: 1 Print
Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Funny Games (1997) (Read 4,947 times)
josephk
Platinum Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 3,981
Location: Canada
Joined: 01. Apr 2002
Funny Games (1997)
04. Aug 2002 at 01:20
Print Post  


Funny games
1997, Austria

WARNING: my review contains a pretty big spoiler. Skip the section enclosed within asterisks (*) if you don't want to know what happens to the boy. However, I suspect that most of you won't want to see this film anyway. In which case, go ahead and read the whole thing. (Subsequent replies by other posters may also contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.)

I'm afraid I can't really recommend this film to anyone, unless you get a kick out of watching gratuitous graphic violence and disturbing scenes.

This film has actually won some prizes and seems to be getting good reviews. It has a 7.1 rating on IMDb, which is fairly high. I understand that the film is very well made and I can appreciated it on that level. The acting and direction are both excellent. But the subject matter is just too intense and the ideas behind it are just not profound enough to make it worthwhile.

The plot: A family of three - mother, father and young son (see pictures below) - arrive at their summer home where they plan to spend a nice holiday. Everything starts out fine, but within moments their house is taken over by two strangers who then spend the rest of the film torturing them and intending to kill them one by one.

Only one word can describe the resulting viewing experience: painful.

The boy is beautiful and very sweet. He doesn't have much dialogue, but there are a few sequences where he is the center of the action. I wish I could say that this makes the film worth watching, but I would say the opposite is actually true. To explain why that is, however, I have to get into some spoilers.  

*****warning: spoilers ahead*******

The boy is mistreated from the moment the two psychopaths walk into the house. They hit him a few times and at one point put a pillow case over his head and torture him to force the woman to take off her clothes. He gets his head blown off halfway through the film, and I can't really understand how I managed to sit through the second half after that shock!

I guess that was a spoiler, but I don't think the plot has any significance in this film anyway, so who cares? The filmmakers tried to make a few interesting commentaries with the film to justify all this extreme violence, but overall I don't think it works. If there is a social commentary in the film, it is much too weak to justify this kind of violence. If the point was aesthetic or artistic more than social, then again it fails, as there isn't really anything intersting happening on that level that would justify how painful these images are to watch.

**********end of spoiler zone********


The script gets a little post-modern at times, with one of the two psychopaths turning towards the camera and directly talking to the viewers, asking us how we feel about the film, etc. I guess that was supposed to be clever. At another point, one of the psychos takes the tv remote control and rewinds the film back a few minutes, to prevent something from happening. Again, this is supposed to be cool and make this film an interesting experiment in style, but I can't imagine that anyone would be so naive as to actually buy into it at that point.

Anyway, don't watch the film. It would be nice if someone rented the DVD and made a nice series of DVD captures of the young star, Stefan Clapczynski, to post a gallery. That way, others could at least enjoy that element of the film without having to suffer the rest of it. Maybe I'll do that when I get my new computer. In the meantime, here are a few pics found on Boy Actors of the World.

-------------------
images expired

EDIT: Sir Jacob recommended that I add a warning about the spoiler, so I did. Sorry if anyone read this before I placed the warning.

(Edited by josephk at 5:44 am on May 19, 2003)
« Last Edit: 06. Jul 2008 at 04:46 by Zabladowski »  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Sir Jacob
Global Moderator
*****
Offline


Big Daddy...The Message
Master.

Posts: 2,381
Joined: 30. Oct 2001
Funny Games
Reply #1 - 04. Aug 2002 at 02:24
Print Post  
josephk, I had almost gotten over this one, which I saw a few months ago, but now I'm remembering it all again, and it's depressing to think of. You're right about everything you said here, though I do think it makes a good point about psychopaths and violence.

I did think that Stefan Clapczynski was a beautiful boy, and the character that he played was a true "innocent" who was a fighter in the face of overwhelming odds. I was rooting for him, and it really depressed me deeply when things didn't turn out good. Gosh, this really was a depressing film. I hate violence. I hate those who hurt boys, too.

Very thorough and accurate review.

Love,
Sir Jacob
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
josephk
Platinum Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 3,981
Location: Canada
Joined: 01. Apr 2002
Re: Funny Games
Reply #2 - 22. Sep 2006 at 00:15
Print Post  
After a recent thread in which Cal mentioned this as one his most hated films, I was prompted to go check out my own rating of the film and comments by others. I eventually found my way back to this review, which I wrote over four years ago after seeing the film.

As I already mentioned elsewhere, after my first viewing of the film, I wasn't particularly impressed. I didn't know the director at the time and, reading my review today, I realize that I had COMPLETELY missed the point.

It's kind of embarrassing to be reading this today. I was even tempted to delete or edit my initial review, but I guess I might as well keep it as it was an honest reaction at the time. The strange thing is that if I was reading this comment written by someone else, I would probably take offense to it and get into a big argument with the reviewer. Kind of a weird experience.

Anyway, in response to other people's comments (and I guess to my own as well) I just wanted to say that the movie DOES have a point, and a very interesting one, too. Unlike what some have said in their comments on the profile page, the point of the film is NOT to "show how nasty humans can be" or that "Nazi spirit is alive and well". The director is not so much interested in commenting on violence itself, but rather on the way it is presented to us and how we, as an audience, react to it.

I don't really want to get into it much deeper than that, because I suspect that not many people care. I don't say that in a pretentious way, looking down at others who either don't understand or don't want to think about the film beyond their first impression of it. As you can see by my own initial review of it, I was myself of the opinion that it was a worthless film made for shock value and trying too hard to be clever with its post-modern elements, so obviously I can't put peple down for not appreciating it now. But I just wanted to say that my opinion of the film (and of the director) has changed, and it's in part because I know the director very well and have seen most of his films, as well as read or heard interviews with him. I read other people's interpretations of his films and I discussed them with friends. Since my first viewing of the film, I have had four years to devote to the study of cinema, and I think I'm in a better position to appreciate the film now than I was then. But I realize not everybody is that interested in this sort of filmmaking, and I can totally see why some people would just hate the movie.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
cal-Q-L8
Platinum Member
*****
Offline


Admin

Posts: 8,002
Location: Australia
Joined: 30. Oct 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #3 - 22. Sep 2006 at 01:19
Print Post  
It's certainly a confronting film and I've had the opposite reaction. I originally rated the film a 9/10 when I first saw it. Now I loathe it.

I'm not prepared to desensitive myself to the point where I can defend such films. Psycos out there actually imitate what they see in movies. They get turned on by indiscriminate killings and I'm sick of pretentious directors going to such lengths to 'shock' audiences.

There are hundreds of movies that allegedly explore violence as a social phenemon as an excuse to get noticed. The more ruthless the more bloody the more callous they are the more they shock and disturb people. Psuedo intellectual directors have a knack of hiding behind intellectual veils.

This movie has no more validity than watching a public beheading.

The movie is also very tedious and amateurish in it's attempt to imitate real life.

In saying this, if I were in my twenties I'd probably rate it highly. I used to like Clint Easwood movies... I now detest most of them. I even used to like Arnie... what the hell was I thinking?    Grin
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
josephk
Platinum Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 3,981
Location: Canada
Joined: 01. Apr 2002
Re: Funny Games
Reply #4 - 22. Sep 2006 at 07:13
Print Post  
Well, I'm still in my twenties (for a couple of years at least) so what do I know?

But I completely disagree with your comments and I think you're missing the point by a long shot. The last thing the director wants to do is "desensitise" you. If anything, he wants the very opposite. He wants audience to question the pleasure they get out of violence.

That's why he manipulates the audience to such an extent that by the time the woman shoots one of the attackers, you should be cheering for her. And just at that moment - the emotional height of the film when you think that the couple is finally going to overcome the two guys torturing them - he inserts a metanarrative device (rewinding the film) that takes you out of the film completely, reminding you that this is a film, and hopefully forcing you to examine and question your reaction to it.

Whether this works or not is very much up to debate (I might even be willing to admit that it fails in most cases, since very few people get it), but these were the director's intentions and I'm not making this up, because I heard him say it in an interview.

I crappity smacking hate the "pseudo-intellectual" label. It's a way for people who don't appreciate a certain type of art to make themselves feel good about "not getting it". Convince yourself that the reason you don't get it is that there's nothing to get, and the director is just a "pretentious" guy fooling naive audiences with things that sound intelligent but actually have no meaning. You, of course, know better. And people who actually spend their whole career studying film and writing about it are obviously in no position to know better. They are just, after all, pseudo-intellectuals. Meaning: idiots.

Well, I am one of those idiots. And this is exactly why I should not have started this discussion.

I tried very hard in my previous comment not to insult those who "don't get it". I said the film is not for everybody and most people won't care for it, but I put a lot of emphasis on how that's fine and it doesn't mean they're any stupider than me or those who like the film.

You, on the other, use objetive statements like "the film has no value" and call the director (and those who appreciate his work) a pretentious pseudo-intellectual.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
cal-Q-L8
Platinum Member
*****
Offline


Admin

Posts: 8,002
Location: Australia
Joined: 30. Oct 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #5 - 22. Sep 2006 at 11:07
Print Post  
He wants audience to question the pleasure they get out of violence.

See that's just it, I can't relate to violence as entertainment at all, I've seen violence in real life, I've been in the company of serial killers, total psychopaths and been in fear of my life. I've been robbed at gunpoint (a gun to my head), I've also been carjacked and had razor sharp machetes against my throat. I've seen people stabbed and beaten, I've been beaten unconscious myself. I abhor violence. I don't need a film director to crudely manipulate me into an awareness of something I'm already fully aware of.

I get no pleasure out of violence in movies at all. However, when I was younger I certainly did, I loved action films, the more bodies the better. I loved playing Cowboys and Indians as a kid... now I'm loathe to watch something like "Into the West", because it is full of killing. I detest shows like CSI, Law and Order and all those other similar shows that depend on gruesome or sickening killings for the entertainment of viewers.

I abhor preachers especially those evangelical wankers that spew out hateful right-wing Christian dogma based on their own stoic 'beliefs'. This film was like that IMO, it was so obviously message driven (to me at least).

You severely criticised and dismissed "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring" in much the same terms that I have with this film. Yet there are many people who think that movie is a masterpiece. It all depends on your perspective and we all have different points of view.

BTW, I did 'get' the film's message the first time I saw it.

We all perceive what is good and bad from often vastly different backgrounds and cultures. For me "Funny Games' is one of my least liked films.

I crappity smacking hate the "pseudo-intellectual" label. It's a way for people who don't appreciate a certain type of art to make themselves feel good about "not getting it

It's a way for 'some' people.. yes..  however this movie was IMO easy 'to get'.

BTW, I have studied film. One of the courses I did at Uni was on film appreciation and film production. I have spent thousands of dollars on film books. I have seen over 10,000 films in my life. I also worked for several years in the business. So I don't put down anyone who studies film... but I do have opinions and I don't get pissed off if other people have different opinions...  it makes life more interesting  Smiley

I was very tempted to get political in this post but I refrained from the urge. I'm becoming a victim of social suffocation.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
josephk
Platinum Member
*****
Offline



Posts: 3,981
Location: Canada
Joined: 01. Apr 2002
Re: Funny Games
Reply #6 - 22. Sep 2006 at 23:08
Print Post  
That fact that you personally do not see violence as entertainment does not in any way mean that the director's point about violence is not valid, because clearly you are in the minority, and what he is questioning is a mainstream phenomenon. Surely you're not going to tell me that everyone is like you and nobody gets pleasure out of violence in the media? Why would there be so many violent films, violent TV shows and violent video games if that were the case?

So what's wrong with questioning that? What's wrong with challenging that? If you are so opposed to violence as entertainment, then I would think you should applaud a director who makes a film that tries to make people see the hypocricy in that. And don't tell me about the irony of making a violent film that questions violence. That's too easy (and besides the director is aware of that irony).

Anyway, you are entitled to your opinion, of course. I still think you are wrong. You say the movie is obvious and message driven and preachy and easy to get, but it can't be that obvious if you're still missing the point.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
cal-Q-L8
Platinum Member
*****
Offline


Admin

Posts: 8,002
Location: Australia
Joined: 30. Oct 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #7 - 22. Sep 2006 at 23:50
Print Post  
Ok you think I'm missing the point. Do you really think a movie like that is any better than many other anti-war or anti-violence films or anti-social studies.

These films have a similiar message and IMO do it much better:

A Clockwork Orange
Full Metal Jacket
Paths of Glory
City of God
MASH
Pixote
Ivan's Childhood

... there are many others.

Let's just agree to disagree.   Grin
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
nicolas
Platinum Member
*****
Offline


Toi mon amour, toi qui
a le cœur lourd mon amour

Posts: 1,100
Location: Sur le canapé avec chips/rosé.
Joined: 15. Apr 2006
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #8 - 23. Sep 2006 at 06:01
Print Post  
Your personal honesty in this thread is touching, literally, Cal.

Threads like this are really the best, because watching from a 'window' gives a huge set of thoughts (of an unseen film for some of us) from two completely different perspectives.

Thanks for going back and forth on this, it's worth every word.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
hosenhaus
BA Moderator
*****
Offline


spheroid

Posts: 4,301
Joined: 30. Oct 2001
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #9 - 23. Sep 2006 at 07:00
Print Post  
Stefan Clapczynski

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

? did you know ?

according to IMDb, the director (Michael Haeneke) is now doing a re-make of FUNNY GAMES ?  With:

Devon Gearhart as the kid?

(You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt as Peter and Paul?

  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
nicolas
Platinum Member
*****
Offline


Toi mon amour, toi qui
a le cœur lourd mon amour

Posts: 1,100
Location: Sur le canapé avec chips/rosé.
Joined: 15. Apr 2006
Gender: Male
Re: Funny Games
Reply #10 - 23. Sep 2006 at 16:46
Print Post  
Thanks Hosenhaus.  They couldn't have chosen a better youngster for the sequel.
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
zork
Silver Member
***
Offline


BA Member

Posts: 180
Joined: 15. Dec 2003
Re: Funny Games
Reply #11 - 28. Sep 2006 at 11:01
Print Post  
Can't wait for see this remake.
Because I want to see Devon Gearhart's acting... Grin
  
Back to top
 
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Print