Friday, February 22, 2019

Funny Games, Painfull Viewing

by Albert Cudlban (writer), Hollywood, CA, April 06, 2008


A review of the remade-movie "Funny Games", starring Naomi Watts.

In "Funny Games" (2007), the "thriller" from Actress and Executive Producer Naomi Watts, 'George', played by Tim Roth, begins to weap approximately 15 minutes into the film; and he doesn't stop crying until clear after he's dead and lying in a puddle of his own tears and blood. Which, at the film's conclusion, just makes you Wish you were George.

Director Michael Haneke decided to remake his original "Funny Games" (1997), for reasons which are unclear, considering that his production remains nearly identical. The only major changes coming in the form of a new cast, and relocating the story from Germany to Southampton, Long Island. The director has mentioned in interviews that he originally intended his first film to be set in America, because of the greater inclination of US movies to revel in violence as entertainment.

At the start of the film, "George" (Tim Roth) and "Ann" (Naomi Watts) of the affluent Farber family, drive to their remote palatial vacation home with their young son, "Georgie" (Devon Gearhart). On the way, they play a round of 'guess-the-classical-music-composer' until the opening credits roll, when Heneke overlays gleaming blood-red lettering and full-volume death metal music. 

Upon arriving in their multi-gated neighborhood, the Farbers stop to say hello to their painfully over-acted and in-destraught neighbors, who are accompanied by a pair of young boys dressed in white polo shirts, white shorts and Smurfesque white gloves. While George & Georgie tidy-up the family fishing boat at their private dock, Mom makes preparations for dinner with the visiting neighbors. Ann's kitchen duties are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of one of the young boys, "Peter" (Brady Corbet), requesting, in impeccable formal etiquette, a few eggs from the kitchen. But something is obviously afoot!.. That or this movie is just simply terrible. 

Turns out it's both! Peter dropps the eggs on the floor, is joined out of nowhere by his identically attired and likewise strangely verbally polite pal, "Paul" (Michael Pitt) and the two proceed to take the unsuspecting family hostage!

 Patriarch, George, is rendered completely useless, and annoying, after he is hit on the leg with a golf club. That's right, he is struck one individual time on the leg, and cannot help anyone do anything for the remainder of the film. At one point, he leans against a wall in the kitchen, standing 3-4 feet from a chair; when his frantic and basically-raped wife realizes that she has neglected to check on her son after he was shot in the chest with a shotgun. She attempts to exit the room to do so, but George whines and gives her the ol' puppy dog face until she guides over those death-defying 3-4 feet to his seated salvation. Once there, he grabs a loaf of bread and continues to cry.

The movie is an ugly hostage situation littered with escalating degradation, violence and psychological torture for this unfortunate family. The two patrician young men never lose their soft-spoken cool, while casually applying the most despicable forms of suffering and humiliation to these seemingly random victims.

The emphasis of the film is clearly on torture for sport, given the athletic attire of these elite thugs, and their favored wielding of golf clubs as potential deadly weapons. The stated intentions of the 'funny games' in progress consist of whether or not the family members can avoid death at the boys' hands, and manage to survive until morning.

12-minute-long static shots of Naomi Watts making a strugglesome effort to stand while duct tape hog-tied; an active young boy trying to climb a fence basically the same height as he and failing miserably; crying, crying and more damn crying... Let me count the ways in which this is officially the most terrible movie which I have ever sat though. (Which wouldn't have happened in the first place had the 2 adjacent theatres have been playing nearly anything besides "College Roadtrip" and "The Bank Job" (the second of which I had already seen but, in retrospect, certainly should have gone for my second viewing on this occasion.).)

Warner Independent Pictures
Rate R
.001 star

About the Writer

Albert Cudlban is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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