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Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

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Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

Old 07-11-10, 07:11 PM
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Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

Funny Games (1997 & 2007)

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Selected by gglass4269.

1997 Original:

Written and directed by German-born Michael Haneke ('The Piano Teacher', 'Caché'), 'Funny Games' combines thriller conventions "with a number of Brechtian devices that catch audiences in a voyeuristic trance" (Stephen Holden, 'The New York Times').

A succession of "sadistic, insufferable, clever and relentlessly compelling" (David Sterritt, 'Film Scouts') games between victims and perpetrators -- and between auteur and spectator -- 'Funny Games' opens with an aerial shot of an SUV maneuvering through an idyllic landscape. Inside the vehicle, Anna (Susanne Lothar; 'The Piano Teacher'), Georg (Ulrich Mühe; 'Benny's Video') and their son Georgie play a guessing game en route to their lakeside vacation home.

But a soporific rural escape rapidly turns into a home-invasion nightmare as Paul (Arno Frisch; 'Benny's Video') and Peter (Frank Giering) break into their house, claiming to be neighbors' relatives. Young and articulate, the serial-killer duo of Peter and Paul inexplicably imprison this upper class Austrian family, irrationally switching from physical assaults to moments of emotional harassment and vicious psychological tortures.

"This beautifully acted and paced German variant of 'Cape Fear'" (Holden, 'The New York Times') is one of Michael Haneke's most acclaimed portrayals of unspeakable, and ever unjustifiable, acts of violence.

2007 Remake:

At their lakeside vacation home, Ann (Naomi Watts), George (Tim Roth) and their son have unexpected visitors: two well-spoken, well-bred young men wearing polite smiles and preppy sportswear. The visitors want to play a game. "You bet that you'll be alive tomorrow at 9:00, and we bet that you'll be dead. OK?"

In this stark thriller based on his acclaimed 1997 film of the same title, director Michael Haneke creates an ever-tightening sense of suspense balanced on a knife's edge between icy fear and shocking surprise. As the terrorized family fights to survive, each plan is thwarted, each option closed, each hour closer to what could be the last. Brutal games. Twisted games. Life-or-death games. Funny Games. Want to play?

When the film was screened at Cannes in 1997 it shocked the audience badly enough that many viewers, including some film critics, walked out of the screening.

The 2007 version is a shot-by-shot remake of the original.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 07-13-10, 02:17 PM
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Re: Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

I had previously seen the remake, but this was the first time for me to see the original (not like there's much of any difference). Anyway, this is one of those films that I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Is it well made, well acted? Sure, but there's just something about it that prevents me from being a big admirer of it.

I appreciate how Haneke messes with film conventions, even flaunts them. It is easy to see this movie as an exercise in audience manipulation, especially when Fatty gets shot. After that point, when his buddy was able to rewind the proceedings, it becomes clear that the deck is stacked against the victims. There's no way they are going to be able to survive. They don't exert any control and are truly helpless against whatever these boys choose to do with them.

I guess one thing I could do is compare the two versions of the film. I didn't realize the American one was a shot-by-shot remake of the original. I really felt like there were more subtle differences between the two, but I guess not. If I had to pick one as the superior version, I would have to pick the original German. I think the casting of the two young guys was far superior in the original. Fatty had this slightly pleasant sort of face that you really can't believe would do these things, and I liked how much more natural and easy going his friend seemed in the original. I think Michael Pitt may have overplayed a bit putting on a little bit too much of an act. It has been a while since I've seen the remake, though. My memory could be a little foggy. Regardless, I found the villains in the German one to be far more effective, if for no other reason than their complete ordinariness.

One of my favorite moments actually comes at the very beginning. I found the juxtaposition of the angry metal music with the serene, relatively still images of the family on their way to their vacation home to be very effective. It was sort of creepy and disturbing just because of how strongly those things clashed.

Anyway, I'm definitely an admirer of Haneke, although I definitely don't think this is among his best work. It's certainly an interesting exercise, though.
Old 07-14-10, 10:38 PM
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Re: Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

You hit the nail on the head clckorang.

I watched the original last night (streamed thru Netflix with a disappointing non-anamorphic transfer) and watched the remake tonight. This was akin to watching REC and then watching Quarantine. The movies are exact copies but there is just something missing from the remake that the original contains. Is it casting, subtle different shots, different dialogue inflections? I don't know but the remake is definitely missing something even though it is a shot by shot, line by line, even wardrobe by wardrobe copy. Hell, the female lead even wears an almost exact over-sized sweater near the end like the original.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the original after watching it last night at first. I was astonished, sad, angry, uncomfortable, irritated. It honestly made my emotions run the gamut and I can't say many films have made me feel this way. I honestly shouted "fucking a" when she shot the guy, only to have that minor victory taken away from me. And they shoot the kid first. Holy cow! No movie does that or even considers trying to get away with that. Being married with a son near the age of theirs, I could really feel the emotions they must be going thru and this was another one of those movies where you can put yourself into the protagonists point of view. It was a tough movie to watch (the original that is).

Some issues I had with both of them was that I felt the mother truly never acted as a mother would when her son gets killed in front of her. Even after the shock wears off for her, she never truly lets go. This movie seemed to go against type so maybe that was the reason. I did feel the father was too much of a pussy throughout but in the original, when the father breaks down after the killing, it is truly heart wrenching. Tim Roth sucked the big one on that part and didn't come close to the emotion charged original scene.

I agree with clckwornag that the original duo seems far more menacing and charming at the same time. The duo in the remake just seem to be trying too hard while the original duo seemed completely natural. A subtle change in the remake that I found strange was the choice of the dog. Why dump a menacing German Shepard? The dog in the remake seems like he would lick you to death instead of actually be a threat. And Tubby didn't seem near as creepily grating as the original Fatty.

I do like how they kept virtually all the violence off screen and even kept the nudity out. You walk away from this movie thinking you saw things a lot worse than you actually did. The remake isn't terrible but I see nothing to gain by watching it if you have seen the original already. If you have seen the remake though, I would definitely suggest giving the original a shot. I was a little bored by the remake but that was likely because it was so similar to the first one that I knew exactly what was coming at every moment and there were no surprises. It also causes you to compare it to the original while watching it which also doesn't help. Watch the original for the duo. They play it perfectly.

Can't say I enjoyed it but thanks for the recommendation to watch it.

I wish more would give their opinions on it as I would like to see what others thought.

My ratings:

Original - **** out of *****

Remake - *** out of *****
Old 06-03-11, 09:54 AM
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Re: Horror Film Club (July 5th) - Funny Games

Great film. Horrible!

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