Michael Haneke / Austria 1997 / 1h49m / 35mm / German and French with English subtitles
Cast: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering.
Ostensibly, this is another of the family in peril flicks, a genre which we know we have seen over and over again to the point that we know the rules and regulations by heart. But here Haneke asks what is the drive that keeps us skewered to our seats in the dark when up on screen others are being skewered. Though importantly, in 'Funny Games', we witness nothing graphic. The camera lingers on the participants faces to register the horror and in that we might wriggle with the tension of whether we are going to be allowed a peep too. And Haneke plays on that sickeningly clammy, but addictive suspense right from the start, pushing us all to observe with a sense of shivery, sterile detachment, with the film taking a few stunning formal turns that underscore this. A moral maze with a cerebral centre, 'Funny Games' is not easily forgotten. - 'Lizzie Francke' (original brochure blurb)