Funny Games (1997)

2016 #4
Michael Haneke | 104 mins | TV | 16:9 | Austria / German | 18

Arthouse favourite Michael Haneke criticises audience’s enjoyment of screen violence. It certainly achieves its aim of being a grim, brutal depiction of violence in real-life, creating a situation that feels inescapable not only for the characters but the audience too. Some cinematic trickery is also deployed to striking, if divisive, effect.

However, it’s more shocking that, as recently as the mid-’90s, Austria doesn’t seem to have a universal emergency services phone number.

The entire message is, “real-life violence is bad and you shouldn’t enjoy it in fiction, okay?” You don’t need to sit through a tough hour-and-a-half to know that.

3 out of 5