Funny Games – It’s Not Funny

I am still to watch the the 2007 remake of the film, but I have just finished watching the 1997 German language version (above). Bearing in the mind the most recent film is a remake of this one almost shot-for-shot I wonder if there still is much point going out to watch it.

The film in undoubtedly dark and makes for some pretty tortuous watching – as you already know. Haneke plays with his victims as well as his audience; the movie is called Funny Games because the tormentors play a series of ‘games’ with their victims.

Haneke’s attempts to admonish those who crave violent movies like ‘Saw’ or ‘Hostel’ actually work, a bit of a bloodlust freak myself I was shocked at the inhumanity and callousness of the captors. We really see the effects that the violence in the film, while rather expertly starved from actually seeing the physical violence take place. Like, for instance, we see the father – the man of the house despair as he becomes aware of his impotence to protect his family – they make him beg to enforce this. We also see him sob uncontrollably when he realises his son is dead. These scenes really drive home the point that violence is not simply visually stimulus, Haneke shows that people really get hurt, and death is a big deal.

To avoid calls of hypocrisy, Haneke carefully ensures that every gun shot (bar one), every knife thrust, every golf club beating, is just out of shot of the camera and the audience not exposed to it, he does this with terrific effect.

His characters break the forth wall, perhaps to afford the audience the solace that this is still a movie and this is not happening to real people, and so reduces the emotional impact.

This film has not made not enjoy a gory film as such; but at least has made me aware that films made solely for people to enjoy the gruesome and horrifying way people are meeting their ends are not big and they are not clever.

Did you see the film? Has Haneke’s message been portrayed with this?