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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Suzaane Lothat
Frank Giering
Ulrich Muhe.
Directors
Michael Haneke.
Screenwriters
Michael Haneke.
Running Time
103 minutes

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Funny Games
Creepy and well handled thriller in a familiar vein from Austria


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Plot
A middle class family arrive at the lakeside home where they are to spend their holidays. Soon, two strange young men are on their doorstep, requesting favours and behaving strangely. One of the men announces a bet that none of the family will be alive in nine hours' time.


Review
Small details like their matched white gloves and inconsistent names clue us (and Anna) into the fact that the invaders are up to no good. Paul borrows one of Georg's golf-clubs and uses it to kill the family dog then, during a minor argument, to break Georg's leg. Paul announces a bet, that none of the family will be alive in nine hours time.

The story is deliberately archetypal, borrowing from The Desperate Hours, Last House On The Left and Straw Dogs as an isolated "normal" family are invaded by psychopathic outsiders who arbitrarily torment them, forcing them to fight back. However, writer-director Haneke has ambitions to make more than just an edge-of-the-seat suspenser.

It might well be accused of being too clever for its own good, and the ending isn't particularly radical, but this is a remarkable film. Haneke's earlier effort Benny's Video was about the numbing effects of media violence but adopted alienating devices that made it cold. Here, he plays the game far closer to the rules, encouraging identification with the victims (especially Lothat) and making villains (who seem to be students out for a lark) unforgettably creepy characters.


Verdict
It's a film you might argue with, but its sparing use of on-screen violence, some extraordinarily protracted scenes and sensitive handling of thorny subject matter make it also a film you ought to see.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Funny Games
Empire Star Rating

Brutal.

Brilliant and magnificent. 5/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 03:52, 10 March 2008 | Report This Post


this is very disturbing. Not 4 every1. brilliant - dont understand why hes made a remake though. 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:27, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


this is very disturbing. Not 4 every1. brilliant - dont understand why hes made a remake though. 4/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 10:27, 21 October 2007 | Report This Post


Funny games

Well yet another film that dissapointed me but oh well it wasnt to bad. Filled with lots of cinematic wonders but still rather ummm bad..maybe a little harsh but i cannot say that this film was enjoyable or particulary interesting because one, there is to many long static shots of characters doing nothing and two, what was the director trying to say.... probably something about violence but after the kid gets blown away i couldnt really care less i was to busy laughing at the absurdity of it all... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 20:37, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post


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