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Michael [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger, Christine Kain
  • Directors: Markus Schleinzer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 28 May 2012
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,148 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


An impressive debut Time Out

This acclaimed Austrian drama focuses on five months in the life of paedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his basement.

A protégé of Michael Haneke, Markus Schleinzer's "Michael" is a triumph of uneasy cinema. With an unorthodox level of restraint, the director tells the story of a dull office drone who keeps a kidnapped young boy locked in his house.

Despite its subversive edge, "Michael" successfully drains the shock out of a frightening premise and instead delivers a keen observational thriller. From its opening minutes, "Michael" reveals its alarming plot with a patient, naturalistic atmosphere.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By dipesh parmar on 30 Mar 2012
Format: DVD
Michael walks into his house with some groceries, cooks a meal and sets a table for 2. In the basement, Michael opens a door into a dark room, a boy appears. The boy is Wolfgang, they eat, wash up, watch a bit of television and go to bed.

This is a daily routine for what appears to be a one-parent family, living in Vienna, Austria. Director Markus Schleinzer zooms in on Michael's life, he is single and works in an insurance firm, he has a mother, a sister and a brother. Michael takes Wolfgang to the zoo, they celebrate Christmas, hold hands as they walk the streets, play games and watch tv. All seemingly normal.

Wolfgang is 10 years old, but Michael is not in fact the boys father. Wolfgang has been imprisoned by Michael, a 35-year old paedophile. Schleinzer resists any moralising, and he holds back from showing anything explicit, but shares the nightmare of Wolfgang's abuse through suggestion. Our minds fill in the gaps, assisting in reinforcing Michael and Wolfgangs `relationship' which only increases the tension. Michael's all too believable scenario could be happening anywhere, he could easily be your neighbour, or a colleague in work, and you would never know who he truly is.

Often it is Michael who is the boy, unable and unwilling to handle adult responsibilities, and all too ready to just close the door when he can't handle it. In one particularly disturbing scene, Michael re-enacts a scene from a film in front of Wolfgang, who is unimpressed. For a split second, their roles are reversed. Wolfgangs imprisonment accelerates his journey to adulthood, while Michael becomes the child.

No matter how humane Michael was portrayed, your attention is always focused on Wolfgangs ordeal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Nov 2014
Format: DVD
The subject of paedophilia is naturally never going to be a topic that has people rushing out to theatres. It is what it is and it rightly induces horror and repulsion in straight thinking adults. Yet to simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore the issue is never the way to go, thankfully some directors are prepared to take up the hot baton and produce pictures to trouble and provoke thought in equal measure. Austrian film maker Markus Schleinzer has produced one such film, which is incredibly bold for his debut feature.

Story explores the relationship between a middle aged paedophile played by Michael Fuith and the young boy he keeps locked in a secret basement room at his home, the youngster played by David Rauchenberger. The youngster is not held in some dark and damp room with no light, he is not chained up, Michael has in his own mind provided a loving and healthy home for his captive. He clearly loves the boy, watches TV with him, cooks him meals that they then eat together as if a "normal" couple. It's this banality that is so chilling, where coupled with how we see Michael functioning as a normal hard working man by day, really gnaws away at the senses.

Thankfully, and rightly, the sexual abuse side of things is not shown, nobody wants to see that. The horror comes in the implications, or the aftermath and preludes to what our mind's eye is being prompted to create. There are extended periods of silence throughout the picture, often dialogue is clipped and kept to minimum to urge the viewers to piece together what is going through Michael's mind.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER on 17 Jun 2012
Format: DVD
Sometimes I wonder at why I decide to watch certain films and this falls into that particular category. It is about Michael (Michael Fuith) who has kidnapped ten year old Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger), he keeps him locked in a sound proofed room with uber brilliant security in his basement. By day he is a mealy mouthed insurance sales man at a local call centre, then at night he turns into a sort of special uncle / step father to his captive. He acts like he is the father and goes through the rigours of everyday domesticity with his victim as if he were playing out a normal role, like setting the table for dinner and doing the washing up.

Poor Wolfgang is clearly traumatised by the whole thing but is sort of resigned to playing along, probably in the hope of less brutal treatment. We never get to see the actual abuse, but this is none the less powerful for it, perhaps because we are left to fill in the gaps, it appears worse, if that was actually possible. The abuse is also psychological and sometimes I felt that was actually worse than the nightly incursions. I was in a constant state of anxiety whilst watching this. However, I was hooked from the word go but I also wanted it to be over, but paradoxically when it ended I wanted to know more; I am so hard to please.

Writer and director Markus Schleinzer has made an original and provoking film. The acting by the two main actors is brilliant especially David Rauchenberger, who was utterly convincing. Michael also watches violent porn and that gives him ideas too which though disgusting actually helped to break up the tension a couple of times.
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