Funny Games

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Exploring Michael Haneke: Funny Games (1997)

Exploring Michael Haneke: Funny Games (1997)

In August of 2011, my mind freshly broadened from my first undergraduate film class, I chose to dive into the filmography of Michael Haneke. — Funny Games, the 1997 feature film from auteur Michael Haneke, is perhaps an odd entry point to his filmography, but the experience is one that had such a tremendous impact that I vowed to see more of his work. It took me seven years, but this Michael Haneke retrospective I've recently recommitted to is one that has turned into a favorite project. No doubt a difficult watch, Funny Games depicts the story of two violence-obsessed teenagers who begin a sadistic torture and murder rampage through an upscale vacation haven. The boys, who call themselves Peter (Frank Giering) and Paul (Arno Frisch) are seemingly educated and well-mannered young men making their turn to violence even more of a shock. The polite, controlled essence of the pair makes their descent to madness even more jarring. Haneke expertly subverts the audience's expectations by presenting his killers in crisp white clothes and donning smiles instead of scowls and raggedy garments. The audience, presented with such a contradiction of our own expectations is forced to examine our ideas of how violence is expected to look.