Wow, almost three months without a review! I saw the original film – Funny Games (1997) – two months ago. Once I saw it, I knew I’d have to see this cut. Since Haneke stated it was going to be a shot-for-shot remake, I knew it would be great.
Wow. For those who haven’t seen the original Funny Games and want to see this version, please make sure you see this one first. Even though both are the exact same – just spoken in different languages – I believe this one may have a greater impact on you. Michael Haneke’s vision does not only mimic Argento’s Suspiria in it’s use of color and shades to emit a horrific vibe; but he is able to twist the film to make it funny; in a sick and deprived way, of course. His direction is simply excellent. He gets some great performances out of the five main actors, and it truly makes for a terror induced evening. He had perfect vision from day one, and I’m glad he decided to remake the film using the exact same vision. It was not a money grabbing ploy in my mind, but rather an attempt at expanding his fan base to those who do not like foreign language films. I’m happy to say he created one of the most memorable films with his twisted mind, and I wouldn’t have the film any other way.
Michael Haneke also wrote the script for the film. A lot of the humor translated more laughs from me, because sometimes jokes can get lost in the translation, so to speak. The dialogue was still extremely strong, and is still one of the better written films in general. The story of two guys basically torturing a family for fun seems sadistic – which it is – but it works on many levels. It will sicken some and intrigue others. This is the true polarizing film of this and last decade. The characters aren’t exactly well written – they all come off as simple people – but what occurs throughout the film is something special. They all transform from simple folk to either people you care about or people you hate (in the viewing of the antagonists). Regardless, the film will certainly stick with you; whether it be in a good way or a bad way.
The performances in the film are excellent. Considering the cast basically consists of five leads – as all the characters are in it for about the entire length of the film – I will stick with the performances I liked the most. (so basically all the stars minus the kid)
Tim Roth plays ‘George’, the husband of Anna. His performance would be considered slightly supporting to me, as he has very little dialogue compared to Pitt and Watts. Anyways, his take on the character was very good. Most of his role consisted of having great facial expressions – which he did have – but for some reason, I felt he wasn’t right for the role. Throughout, I was constantly hoping he’d do something more with the role. Unfortunately, that never happened. I was hoping for him to be as good as Ulrich Mule, but not everyone can accomplish such a feat. He did well with what he had, but he could’ve done a lot more, in my opinion.
Brady Corbet plays ‘Peter’, the sidekick – so to speak – of Paul. Corbet really impressed me, as Frank Giering (the Peter in the French version) was a lot less charismatic and unique in the role. Also, I felt that Mr. Corbet couldn’t be as good as Giering, with his limited acting ability (in my opinion). Surprisingly enough, he erased my former opinion of his work, and really let loose in the role. His character is mainly the lacky that does everything Paul says, but he had so much range that it was just pleasant to watch; in a sick kind of way.
Michael Pitt plays one of my utmost favourite characters in the history of cinema, ‘Paul’. He is basically a homage to Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Considering the character is a sociopath in every aspect of the word, it’s hard for me not to love anyone who plays him. The actor always has a lot to work with when they’ve got such amazing levels to work with in the character. From doing some of the hardest things to sit through to breaking the fourth wall to make you feel more uncomfortable as you laugh nervously in your seat, the character has it all. Michael Pitt is one of my favourite actors to come out of the 21st century, but surprisingly, I didn’t love this performance. Arno Frisch made the character in ’97, but I thought Pitt could at least touch the brilliance that Firsch was. Though, Pitt can play a psychopath as best as the rest of them, he missed the mark – but only by a slight margin – with his interpretation of the character.
Onto the brilliance that is Naomi Watts. Watts plays Anna, the wife of George and mother of George Jr. Think of a Lars von Trier film – more specifically, think of Nicole Kidman in Dogville. Imagine, if you will, a woman being put through the most grueling psychological torture imaginable. Watts’ performance is the most real performance of the film, and one of the most real performances to date. Throughout the film, she struggles like any normal person. The only exception is that she endures superhuman situations. Too bad she isn’t superhuman, right? Otherwise, she’d be able to overcome these feats… but then again, that would eliminate the entertainment of the film… and “we can’t forget the importance of entertainment”, can we?