Funny Games U.S. (18)

Written and Directed by Michael Haneke
Screening at FACT from 9th May 2008

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

There has been a crop of dire films released in the UK this year, and the situation over the next three months or so does not appear to get any better, given that we are entering the summer schedule of brainless blockbusters.

To make matters worse, Funny Games is a pointless remake of a film released in 1997. It baffles me why director Michael Haneke - who was involved in the original - has decided to do this. Oh silly me, I forgot, it must be about making money!

The only difference is that it has a new cast of characters - including box office draw Naomi Watts - and the relocation of the two hours of torture moved from Germany to Southampton - the Long Island version - although the one in England might have been more surreal.

For those who did not see the 1997 version, the film is about three bourgeois people, Anna (Watts), husband George (Tim Roth) and son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) who are subjected to various forms of physical humiliation by two intruders in white shirts and gloves (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet).

Apparently Haneke had intended to make the first film in America because of the greater propensity of Hollywood to luxuriate in violence as entertainment. What an indictment of US moviemakers.

Haneke is quoted as saying that the main objective of the film is to condemn viewers for seeking pleasure and excitement in watching horrific violence enacted upon people. What twaddle.

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