Film Review: “Funny Games” (zero stars)
Pitt of despair
German director Michael Haneke’s English-language remake of his 1997 film “Funny Games” purports to be a rebuke of the American public’s complicity in transforming torture-porn splatterfests into bankable franchises. But it commits a high sin of didactic social commentary by becoming more fetid and indefensible than any of the “Saw” or “Hostel” films it allegedly has in its sights.
When the genteel classical music of Ann and George’s SUV gets blotted out by John Zorn and Yamantaka Eye’s chaotic avant-garde punk-metal explosions and the film’s title hits the screen in blocky red letters, Haneke sets the film’s unsubtle nihilism in motion. Ann (Naomi Watts) and George (Tim Roth) have brought their young son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) to their vacation home on Long Island, but upon arriving, their neighbors seem unusually aloof. The presence of a preppy, sunken-eyed sociopath (Michael Pitt) lurking near the neighbors does not bode well for things.
Meanwhile, another preppy, sunken-eyed sociopath (Brady Corbet) accosts Ann and asks to borrow some eggs. His oily, solicitous demeanor ratchets up the discomfort until the eggs are broken, and soon the two murderers, calling themselves either “Peter and Paul” or “Beavis and Butt-Head,” force their quarry into a series of emotional and physical torture positions.
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