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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very potent.
The first time I caught this on TV, I hated it. And yet couldn't stop watching it. The film scared the hell out of me. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it.
Yet, days later I found myself still thinking about it. Normally I forget films very quickly, but this one was not fading away. I eventually realised that there was something brilliant about that film.
The...
Published on 17 May 2003 by Legushka

versus
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, disturbing and well-acted, but totally contrived.
'Funny Games' is certainly not a pleasant film to watch. As the title implies, this film is about Michael Haneke playing games with the audience rather than simply telling a story and this artistic strategy is borne out in the interview added on to this DVD edition.

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll comment on the interview with the director. Haneke...
Published on 30 July 2010 by A. J. Cox


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very potent., 17 May 2003
By 
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
The first time I caught this on TV, I hated it. And yet couldn't stop watching it. The film scared the hell out of me. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it.
Yet, days later I found myself still thinking about it. Normally I forget films very quickly, but this one was not fading away. I eventually realised that there was something brilliant about that film.
The brilliance was the way the two guys were portrayed, they are 'evil' and yet seem so normal. They are completely detached emotionally from their actions and seem to feel no empathy at all with their victims. There is no reason for them to kill, no rational explanation. They don't even seem to derive any sadistic pleasure from it.
The way the action is filmed - with the bad guy at one point winking at you, the viewer - helps increase this sense of unease as you are forced by the director to identify with the bad guy and participate (vicariously) in the mental torture inflicted on the victims.
I think that's why the film is so powerful. There's none of that cheap Hollywood gore+blood nonsense. The fear generated is psychological. You are not identifying with the victim and running away with them, you become the accomplice of the killer.
Very, very potent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is psycical torture in it's finest porait!, 29 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
Austrian Michael Haneke probably knows more about psychology and psychic violence than any other film director. 'Funny Games' was nominated in Cannes for a very good reason: This movie goes beyond the viewer's 'defences'.
The story itself is seems quite plain: A family on vacation at a pittoresque mountain river/lake meet two very polite young men, Paul and Peter. But from that point the absolute horror begins to develop. No matter how hard the family tries to percieve a motive behind the two men's torturous behaviour, they simply cannot understand it, because Paul and Peter are bright and intelligent. Moreover, they understand the family's situation much better, but they're not affected the slightest about it. Instead, they carry on with their polite facade. At one point the mother asks the two men why they're being so cruel. Their reply comes quickly: 'Why not'?
Actually, there is very little on-scrren violence, but you sense the pain, horror and frustration so much stronger than in ordinary violent films because Haneke succeeds in the difficult task of portraying psychical violence.
'Funny Games' has been compared to 'A Clockwork Orange', but Haneke, in contrast to Kubrick, operates with a fully realistic setting and terribly realistic characters, which makes the helplessness and horror much more relevant(!!!)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that everyone should see, at least once..., 7 Aug 2002
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1998] (DVD)
...but it's not a film for everyone.
I remember watching this late night on TV. The introduction gave the usual warnings about 'scariness'. No film has ever frightened me before, but this did. It's hard to categorise this film; not a horror, not really a thriller. But it is one of the best psychological thrillers since Hitchcock.
It is a film for those of us who know what lurks at the back of our minds, hidden just from view. You are unlikely to 'love' this film, but you may hate it. Ambivalence is not an option!
The DVD quality is pretty good, although nothing special. The extras are very dull and the English subtitles cannot be turned off.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly psychological experience!, 25 July 2003
By A Customer
It took a lot of persuasion to get me to sit and watch this film. I had heard it was great but just didn't fancy it, thought it would be an overly arty, overly graphic and overly hyped (by a friend anyway!) movie that sounded quite grim. However, I finally sat down to watch it with my many preconceptions but I was actually pleased that I was proved so wrong. I have never seen a film that is so cleverly made. Plot aside (even though it is extremely good), this is one of the best things I have ever seen! Not once did the makers patronise the viewer by assuming they had to visually spell every little detail out. This film was made to be viewed by people who have an imagination. This film works very much in the same way as a well-written book, we are able to picture what is happening due to meaningful description and imagination. The way it is done so so clever, and so graphic are the images of violence, despite the fact you actually see very little of it, that at times you are left feeling intensly sick at what you have seen (albeit in your head rather than on the screen). This film stands in stark contrast to the abundance of material, both American and British, that sets out to shock but in truth fails because it has to spell out what is happening, it has to try to shock us visually because the script or the film is not quite good enough to help us understand what is happening. This film has no great twists or turns and is quite slow-moving in pace but absolutely outstanding acting, cinematography and dialogue (though it is subtitled, you feel you are actually hearing the words- perhaps why it is almost, in my eyes, akin with reading the book which is always better than the film!) make it better than any Hollywood blockbuster could dream to be.
So, what of the plot? Its basically a tale of cruelty in which the two main characters set out on a journey to torment and traumatise a holidaying family (or two??), constantly dangling hope to them on a stick and then pulling it away again. To say anymore I feel would try to impose my views of the film on others and that is a another beauty of this film. It is the type of film everybody will take away different meanings and messages from. Alright, its not particularly one of those you want to watch again in order to understand as you go along, once you have discovered the ending (Donnie Darko, Fight Club and Sixth Sense spring to mind!) but it does make you want to watch it again to see if it helps you understand any further why the two main characters acted the way they did. The only thing I could conclude from it was that they were having fun! Thats another point that makes it so intensly sickening, there is no masterplan, no illness, no grudges being borne out, no paranormal activity, it simply leaves the viewer gobsmacked as to what just went on! Watch it and see! Love it or loathe it- one thing is for sure, you'll have a pretty damn strong reaction to it either way!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haneke has the last laugh, 18 Jun 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
You'll either love Funny Games, take a good look at yourself and with a rye smile accept Haneke's playful exploitation of the audience....or you'll hate it!

I talked about "Funny Games" for some time after and have thought about it a lot. On the contrary, the person I watched it with dismissed it as 'smug rubbish'.

The "Funny Games" are played on you as the viewer. Why? Because according to Haneke what you imagine to be going on off camera is probably worse that what is actually happening. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy viewing but at the same time a lot of the violence is suggested as opposed to executed in full 'warts and all' fashion.

I won't go into the detail as that's already been done, but "Funny Games" is more of a work of psychology than a film. It's tense, uncomfortable, at times hard to watch...but the question Haneke poses is one of whether we, as a blood baying audience, actually want to see more.

You're best off watching the film, then the interview extra with Haneke to make your mind up. "Funny Games" is not a classic by any means, but it will evoke questions and probably debate if watching it with others.

I admired the quirky concept, it's challenges, the way I questionned myself afterwards, the way the characters look directly into the camera and involve you in their decisions. Others will hate it; or do they 'hate' it because they have been sucked into to Haneke's games and don't like the questions posed of them? That is very much the idea.

Clever stuff; definitely one to watch in my opinion(and probably argue about after!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, 6 Nov 2012
By 
Xenophon (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Michael Haneke is a unique figure in Modern European cinema and 'Funny Games' was his first great work. Haneke is unflinching when it comes to approaching the taboo and unspoken issues in contemporary society and in this film the topic at hand is violence and its portrayal on the screen.

As with all of Haneke's films, the viewer is made to question conventional labels and social stereotypes and not given any clearcut answers whatsoever. 'Funny Games' is brutally violent, bloody and agressive. However this violence is not a means to an end: violence itself is under the spotlight as our the viewer's perceptions about this.

Haneke is one of a handful of living European directors who will be recognised as greats in the future and 'Funny Games' is one of his most important works.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best., 17 Nov 2012
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is a great film. It is an exciting, brave, audacious film. It is also, and those who have seen it consider this carefully, an anti-film film. This is Haneke railing against the casual, sickening violence that pervades most modern blockbusters. Annoyed at the remote scene? That's the point. It only makes as much sense as what you see in Hollywood. Annoyed at the way the two killers are motiveless? That's also the point. The way the film shows violence for what it is, horrible, sickening, off-putting? Then, you have stumbled across the point. Rewatch it with this in mind, and you discover that every line, pause, intonation, action, is a scathingly polemic vision of the films most people watch today.

It takes real skill to create a film with this depth, and only Haneke could have bought the cinematic mastery to it that he did. There is a true and serious message here, and Haneke delivers it brilliantly.

In his own words; "Those who walk out don't need this film. Those who stay do."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 25 Sep 2011
By 
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is disturbing deeply disturbing not least because of the story which but is basically motiveless murder unemotional lack of logic and reason but also the acting of every character is as realistic as it gets
The story is original the directing is original and has a bizarre surprise at one point and the acting is impeccable, the film is a stand alone masterpiece.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terryfiying, 15 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. F. E. Marioni "fran151278" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Funny Games [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Michael Haneke's thriller masterpiece is without doubt the most horrible, uncomfortable, edge of seat and brilliant thriller I have ever seen.
The story of a fairly well off family of three, Georg the father (Ulrich Mühe) Anna the mother (Susanne Lothar) and their son travel to their holidy home. Once they arrive they are greeted by a strange but well presented and polite chap Peter (Frank Giering) who asks for some eggs this leads on to his friend an equally well presented and polite man Paul (Arno Frisch) joining in who together play funny sadistic games with the family.
From the moment the eggs are asked for there is an air of tension that I have never witnessed in cinema it never ever lets up. Slowly the film goes from creepy to horryfiying in such a clever and ingenious way. The viewer doesn't at any point get to see the really nasty stuff that is left to the imagination and once the audience has it in their head you get to see the aftermath. There was many a moment that my eyes would be focusing on other things because what was on screen is simply to uncomfortable. There is also no soundtrack (a theme with haneke's films) which only serves to heighten the tension.
The acting is simply superb from all the main protagonists and the directing from Haneke is brilliant although as with all his films he does something unconventional that seems to split audiences. In one specific scene Haneke turns this into a study of violence as portrayed by the media and how unrealistic it is. At least that is my view on the most famous, controversial and well quite weird scene towards the end of the film.
All in all this is filmaking at its best with so much left to talk about once its over here's hoping that Haneke's English Language remake is just as terryfying as its original
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arresting and draining, 15 Jun 2009
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I thought I was having a bad few days, but I found watching this film oddly cathartic. It breezes along like a middle-class family drama and then suddenly you find yourself in a gruesome, torturing horror film. The sheer malice of the two 'clowns' is nauseating and compelling. The helplessness of the victims is spellbinding. I couldn't move, I just had to watch it to the end.

Haneke's films are deeply challenging and disturbing. In this film he uses many conventions of horror films, but he turns them on their head and adds a layer of nihilistic irony. There is no redemption, no satisfying heroism and no retributive justice. Just a parade of pain, absurdity and cruel chance. As a director I like his long shots of buildings, his observations of haut-bourgeois life and his detachment. There is something raw and original in his work.

I don't understand why Haneke would want to remake this film - that strikes me as perverse. He's made a point in an overwhelming way here, why the need to revisit it? For money?
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Funny Games [DVD] [1997]
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