"Funny Games" Hurt My Brain
So I watched FUNNY GAMES on DVD; it's a recent remake of a 1997 Austrian film of the same name.
The original is supposed to be pretty good, which probably explains how they lured Tim Roth and Naomi Watts to star in this, as a couple menaced by a pair of preppy sociopaths.
The movie remake does a few things right, but basically it's a bit too nihilistic and one-note to really work well; it would be a classic case of torture-porn, except most of the real violence occurs offscreen.
The first thing ironically worth mentioning is that, in God apparently responding to my last post about cellphones, this film actually does a good job with the whole cellphone thing.
Here, early on, one of the sociopaths "accidentally" knocks Naomi Watts' cellphone into a sink full of water, disabling it. Later on, as Watts and Roth try to dry it out to get it to work, their obsessive use of a hair dryer makes for a fairly good sequence. It feels real, as does most of the movie, for better or for worse.
Unfortunately, there's one jaw-dropping moment that doesn't feel real, that really inspired this post.
With about 20 minutes to go, and the violence escalating, Naomi Watts has a familiar thriller moment in which she is able to get her hands on a shotgun, and kill one of the bad guys.
Unfortunately, the surviving bad guy reaches into a chair, pulls out a remote, REWINDS THE MOVIE WE ARE WATCHING, and stops her from grabbing the shotgun, saving his friend. WTF?
Seriously. This happens.
Nowhere else in the movie (except for a few places when one of the sociopaths stares at or talks to the camera) is there any sense that this has any fantasy aspect to it at all; indeed, as mentioned, it's all very creepy-realistic.
Nowhere after this moment do the characters discuss what happened, or explain the remote, or use it again.
I suppose if writer/director Michael Haneke (remaking his own movie) had done a commentary, he might have tried to explain how it was a nod to the complicity of the audience in watching all the violence and blah blah blah.
It doesn't matter. It's a stupid device, that pulled me out of the film. It subverts the logic of the movie and makes me dislike it all just a little bit more.
One for my imaginary file of THINGS YOU DON'T DO IN A MOVIE.