“Funny Games” stars Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet and Devan Gearheart. It’s written and directed by Michael Haneke, who directed the original foreign film that goes by the same title.
After settling in their vacationing home, a married couple (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) and their young child (Devan Gearheart) become terrorized by a couple of unwelcomed visitors. After getting the news that some stranger is at the door, the wife answers the door to find a polite young man dressed in tennis whites asks if he and his soon to arrive sidekick can borrow some eggs. This is when the games begin.
Michael Haneke uses only half of his brain here. There are moments that are near brilliant, but the majority of this artsy thriller is dense and dim-witted. There are powerhouse performances to be found practically all around (aside from an unconvincing act performed by Devan Gearheart). My problem with the movie is the script. The film has some moments of sheer brilliance, including the psycho addressing the camera and using a remote to rewind the film in order to save his sidekick. These moments are off-set thanks to many absent-minded moments, including an almost ten minute scene involving ones effort to get off the floor and the attempt to dry a cell phone with a hair dryer.
It was disturbing at times and there were moments that took me by surprise, but the script was a wreck. Some scenes are drawn out to very lengthy proportions that are tedious and dull. Even pointless shots from outside the house seem extended. The camera angels are a little messy at times. One particular angel is shot from under the stairs where the viewer doesn’t have the slightest idea what is going on (this being one of the worst usage of a camera I have seen in years). There were moments of laughter (not too sure if it was intentional or not) that just didn’t feel right.
Overall, I don’t think I liked “Funny Games” but I didn’t hate it. A more appropriate title for this film would be “Tediously Sadistic Games”. The film was somewhat disturbing, moderately suspenseful, and at times criminally boring. About four scenes scattered in the film that are very intelligent, while multiple scenes should have been cut shorter and weren’t thought out properly. I blame most of these dilemmas on the editing and script. It was a good effort, but Michael Haneke doesn’t quite grasp the true meaning of entertainment.