09
Feb
09

Fuck Funny Games.

Now that Street Fighter IV is about to come out, I’m getting lots of search engine hits on the subject. If you’re interested in the thin Street Fighter story, check out James’ guest post here . If you want to read my initial impressions based on playing the game on imported boards, check out my very first mineshaft post here

Today we’re not talking about Street Fighter though. We’re taking aim at one of the most stupidly respected films in the last couple years: Funny Games. Funny Games is a movie that was deemed so important that its own director made it twice, with ten years between each release. I don’t know how his fans can even defend that… it seems like there’s absolutely no better way to admit you’re out of ideas. If you saw “cache” in 2005, which bit heavily from several much better movies, you might see there’s some merit to this accusation.

Michael Haneke claims that he remade the original 1998 film in 2008 because it was so important for American audiences to see. The film is extremely self referential. Much like Natural Born Killers, it uses the medium of film in order to make a statement about our reactions to the violence we see on screen.

So… the movie is critic proof. If you were disgusted by the violence and hated the film, hooray, you win… you’re one of the good ones. Wow, he showed me something I didn’t like and I reacted morally… he’s a genius. If you thought it was a good film, you obviously don’t have any complaints, so Haneke must be a genius then. Simply put: the film is not meant to be enjoyed by anyone.

But maybe that’s cool. Maybe you don’t need your movies to be entertaining. Maybe an artistic statement about violence is more important to you than a movie that entertains.

Consider this though. This film has been described by many as a kind of Skinner Box for the audience. If we’re thinking about this film as an exercise in cruelty for an audience, then the very act of making it more than once is almost evil. The fact that almost nothing was changed and that it was remade for a bigger audience and more cash makes it more questionable. Haneke, if you’re going to call the people who watch the film depraved and sick for watching it, you should be willing to endure criticism for making it… especially making it twice.

I really want a fan of this movie to actually address this. To everyone who hasn’t seen it, don’t waste your time. Even for gorehounds who just want to see something fucked up, you will be disappointed by this, even if you ignore the director wagging his finger at you and telling you that you’re bad afterwards.

I like to end these rants with pointing to a similar and better film, so I’ll mention Natural Born Killers again. It makes the same points as Haneke’s film, and sure, it’s tough to watch in a few places, but it’s actually interesting. It also extrapolates the idea of violence in the media much further, and has several entertaining scenes.

Fuck Funny Games. Haneke fans… bring it on. 😛

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