Funny Games | Chicago Reader

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108 minutes · 1997

Crime drama, Drama, Thriller
The latest by Europe's philosopher of violence, Michael Haneke, whose Benny's Video (1992) was a mixed blessing at best. If you're the sort of person who complains about violence in movies, don't even think about seeing this; otherwise you might be intrigued by this alternately cool and horrifying meditation on pain and human nastiness in which a middle-class Austrian family on holiday is set upon by two sadists who apparently have nothing better to do than torture them. Haneke has put a cerebral spin on the whole business, issuing a manifesto to the press at Cannes, where the film was in competition. His purpose, he says, is to show violence as something visceral and revolting as a counter to the cartoon carnage of a Schwarzenegger film. Near the end of Funny Games Haneke begins playing with the audience as Brecht might, foregrounding its role in the whole voyeuristic process. A brilliant yet chilling theoretical study.

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