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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
Michael Fuith
David Rauchenberger
Gisella Salcher
Christine Kain.
Directors
Markus Schleinzer.
Screenwriters
Markus Schleinzer.
Running Time
96 minutes

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Michael
Not starring John Travolta


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Plot
Thirty-something Austrian Michael (Fuith) lives a meticulous double life, working as an insurance man and keeping up a veneer of respectability, while keeping a ten year-old boy imprisoned in his basement.


Review
Michael
At a time when paedophilia in film is usually a glib exercise in shock value, this disturbing film from Michael Haneke’s former casting director is an interesting corrective. Open-ended, human and even darkly funny at times — always at its po-faced protagonist’s expense — it tells the story of Michael (Michael Fuith), an office worker who keeps a ten year-old boy in his basement. Intensity is guaranteed, but what separates this from the pack is the myriad questions it raises about his motives: is he a pervert, a child-man or a monster? Nimbly, just when we’re thinking the latter, Markus Schleinzer ends with a finale that gives the film some much-needed humanity and both barrels of its unimaginable horror.


Verdict
As horrifying and hard to watch as you'd expect a paedophile's-eye view of life to be. It's neither sensationalist nor trite, and the questions it asks are intelligent and thoughtful. Recommended.


Reviewed by Damon Wise

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Michael
Empire Star Rating

RE: Chillingly Underhand And Woefully Self-Indulgent

It's curious that Markus Schleiner worked as casting director on the three Haneke films no Teachere Time Of The Wolf e White Ribbons directorial debut owes a great deal to various works by the Austrian auteur - specifically in the cold, clinical & occasionally ambiguous style 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 reserv... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:15, 21 March 2012 | Report This Post


Chillingly Underhand And Woefully Self-Indulgent

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 goe... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 01:56, 13 March 2012 | Report This Post


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