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Empire Admin -> Michael (13/3/2012 1:56:10 AM)

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blaud -> Chillingly Underhand And Woefully Self-Indulgent (13/3/2012 1:56:10 AM)

The issue with such a film as Michael is that the actual concept is the the main attention-getter. The focus of the story becomes the thing that is picked apart, reviewed and condemned, all at the expense of any merit the film actually offers. Unfortunately, Michael is low on merit on a conceptual level. Of course, no bones about it, the theme itself is depraved and horrific, but it seems the filmmakers have banked on this element being able to sustain the rest of the experimental slosh that goes along with it. Technically, it's a very interestingly made film; it has the feeling of an experimental post-modernist piece, utilizing an effective unfolding narrative, as well as various clever audio cues, and impressive performances from the leads. However, any meaning or even purpose to the piece is lost amongst the faux-arty production and the fact that the film wallows in its' on depravity, not giving any answers, or asking any questions. The final act is most definitely the most effective, however, it is unfortunate that the 'big reveal' comes across as trite in comparison to the rest of the films nonchalant, unhurried mood. In terms of actual gratuity, Michael is always tasteful, but also worryingly colourful in its' attention to detail. In seems confusing, when at a time we have more startlingly visceral scenes in films that aren't even about the same theme as Michael, a film like this with nothing to set it apart from the crowd. (other than the bizarre, albeit fascinating production style) To score Michael in the same way as other films (that is to say, for entertainment or watchability value) seems a little unfair, as it is clearly not a film to be enjoyed. However, on an artistic level, aside from persons interested in the visual style, the is really no demographic to recommend it to. Any meaning in the film either does not exist, or is too densely shrouded in arty pretence to be noticed.




Qwerty Norris -> RE: Chillingly Underhand And Woefully Self-Indulgent (21/3/2012 1:15:36 PM)

It's curious that Markus Schleiner worked as casting director on the three Haneke films The Piano Teacher, The Time Of The Wolf & The White Ribbon, as his directorial debut owes a great deal to various works by the Austrian auteur - specifically in the cold, clinical & occasionally ambiguous style Michael (both film & director) practices in. For a film dealing with paedophilia (or possibly child-kidnapping with a man-child angle?), it's impressively restrained in its approach - painting a non sensationalist portrayal of a reserved man living a relatively banal existence with the darkest of personal secrets. Anyone familiar with the very best Haneke however will find its ambiguity very predictable, whilst in the grand scheme of things it really amounts to little more than a mundane look at the life of a possible paedophile - something which has been relatively well covered before in the films of Todd Solondz amongst others. There is also a decent chunk of the film dedicated to a hospital which is probably there to bridge the closing stages, yet feels largely unnecessary - something that's not exactly positive for a 90 minute film. Admirable & uncomfortable viewing, yet overall lacks a distinctive voice of its own. The performances from the two leads however are excellent.

3/5




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