Funny Games

Michael Haneke is not a facile filmmaker, so one has to wonder why he bothered remaking his fourth feature film some ten years later with nary a change in sight. As it turns out, the reason is facile. The original Funny Games was a disturbing Teutonic take on Hollywood-style violence. But apparently not enough Americans got to see it–distributors were presumably scared off by the subtitles and lack of redemption–so now they’ve mixed in some Yank-friendly stars (Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt and Tim Roth).

If you can find a film reviewer who hasn’t seen the original, they’re arguably not a very thorough film reviewer, but they might offer an insight into this new film that the rest of us can’t. The shadow of the past is too dark to allow anything but negative feelings towards the film. It feels outdated, exploitative of its actors and contemptuous of its audience. But, as I noted in my review of the original, the toying with our expectations and the surprise of the plot are vital–something clearly lacking in a reviewing. If you are new to Funny Games, judge for yourself, but if you have been there before, don’t bother again.