Column

The Postmodern Sneer

Funny Games
Produced by Celluloid Dreams
Directed and written by Michael Haneke
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures

After seeing Austrian director Michael Haneke’s film Funny Games, I experienced an unaccustomed urge.  I wanted to buy a .45.

I’m sure this was not the reaction Haneke was hoping for, but he can hardly complain.  After all, his film illustrates all too convincingly that savagery is always just outside our gates, and those who willfully refuse to acknowledge this universal truth are likely to become its victims.  Haneke demonstrates his case courtesy of the Farbers, an upper-middle-class family—husband, wife, and 11-year-old son—who find their vacation home suddenly and inexplicably invaded by two pretty-boy psychos wearing tennis togs and white gloves.  Invaded is not quite the word.  Too civilized to suspect danger, Anne Farber (Naomi Watts) lets the young men into her home after a perfunctory glance at them through her nearly opaque screen door.  In general appearance, Peter (Michael Pitt) and Paul (Brady Corbet), as they are impiously named, seem to fit into her privileged world, and she is easily misled by their polite manner and seemingly college-bred diction.  Peter has come with an innocent request: Could he borrow four eggs?  Then, upon receiving them, he promptly drops them and petulantly demands...

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