A tense, taut and unsettling thriller, Hidden
is a film that expertly follows television presenter Georges, whose seemingly perfect life is shattered when he receives a videotape. On it is a lengthy stream of surveillance footage of his home, shot from just across the street. And its just the first of many. Further tapes, accompanied by strange and disturbing drawings, start to arrive, leaving Georges, his wife and his teenage son unsettled.
The film slowly builds from there, as Georges starts looking to his past to try and find the answer to who is sending the tapes, only to find himself increasingly disturbed by the memories he recalls.
Grounded by excellent performances from Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, Hidden is a masterclass in slow-burning cinema. It has no easy answers, boasts some quite superb direction, and its also distinctly unconventional in how it goes about its business (right from the opening titles). Director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) cleverly works his story across several levels, and while, come the end credits, some may initially find themselves underwhelmed, heres a film that stays in the brain long after the stop button has been pressed. Granted, it wont be to all tastes, but those that do find themselves engrossed are likely to agree that this is one of the finest French films in many years.--Jon Foster
Writer/director Michael Haneke delivers a masterpiece of unsettlement. Life seems perfect for Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and Anne (Juliette Binoche), a bourgeois Parisian couple who live in a comfortable home with their adolescent son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky). But when an anonymous videotape turns up on their doorstep, showing their house under surveillance from across the street, their calm life begins to spiral out of control. Subsequent videotapes arrive, accompanied by mysterious drawings, and gradually Georges becomes convinced that he's being tormented by a figure from his past. But when he confronts him, the man assures Georges he is innocent. A growing sense of guilt begins to rise in Georges as he recalls his less-than-angelic childhood, yet for some reason he's unable to be completely honest with Anne. Soon, their happy home is an emotional battleground, leading to a climax that is breathtaking in its ferocity and ambiguousness.