Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nothing funny

With reviews of Michael Haneke's remake of Funny Games flying left and right, I think I should take a minute to explain why I do not wish to see it. Actually, I don't think it will take a half-minute. I simply don't want to sit around for two hours watching Naomi Watts slowly and cruelly tortured to death. If that makes me a filmgoing wuss, so be it.

I understand that people believe that Haneke's violent film has artistic merit. Yet I suspect that it must be fairly blunt. I prefer my indict-the-audience-for-basking-in-violence film to be more subtle. I think Tony Scott's Man on Fire is a brilliant film that does the same drill with layering and a great deal of subtlety.

So that's my explanation in a nutshell. I never said it would be brilliant. Or long.


Pinko Punko said...

Somehow I've seen the trailer twice (before TWBB and In Bruges)

I had to tell our friends "Do not watch this trailer" the second time around.

Maybe Haneke has made his point, although I'd like to see Ian Sinclair at HE bait jeffmcm about torture porn some more. I'd like the Hostel crowd be forced to watch it.

K. Bowen said...

As far as torture porn, I just don't care. About it. Or about the retort. I just accept that there will always be a place for violence in the cinema, that it is in some ways vital. No one dies. Everyone goes to Chick-Fil-A afterwards. I can live with that guilt-free.

The other problem with this film is that you know four years from now, we're going to hear about some teen-age maniacs in Delaware who re-enacted the plot and scenes. I personally wouldn't want that on my conscience, but I'm not a European artiste.

scot said...

i sorta get where you are going. the original funny games was one of the most excruciating movies i've ever watched. there was one scene with the parents crying in wide shot on opposite ends of the room that lingered forever that i begged to end for what seemed like forever.

you are gonna hate me for this, though. can you expound on man on fire's subtleties as opposed to haneke.

K. Bowen said...

Not so much as opposed to Haneke, and maybe subtlety is too strong, but ... The first half of Man on Fire creates a subjective experience for Creasy that seems to justify the violent reaction in the second half. Then the ending pulls the rug out from under the premise that justified his actions. That turns the sympathy that you feel for Creasy's death rampage into something questionable rather than something justified. It turns out that he isn't necessarily cleaning up morally corrupt third-world deviltry. Rather it's possible to think he has stumbled onto an ugly but functional system of doing business.