By the end of this Hollywood remake you’ll either be throwing bottles and popcorn at the screen or quietly realizing you’ve just been brilliantly had.
It?s also entirely possible you’ll have both reactions. Funny Games is such a unique commentary on violence, films and our expectations that you likely won’t leave the theater in the same shape. Be warned though – that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy this extremely twisted movie.
It certainly takes cojones to make a shot for shot remake of your own film and that?s exactly what Michael Haneke has done with his own 1997 movie. Only, instead of a German setting, he begins with Tim Roth (George), Naomi Watts (Ann) and their young son Georgie (Devon Gearhart) as they are on their way to an idyllic east coast, USA summer locale. Just when their conversation can’t get any more banal, a young university student named Paul (a deliciously evil Michael Pitt), clad in white, shows up at their house and asks for some eggs for the neighbors.
Ann, alone, gladly gives him some, which he proceeds to drop. He asks for some more. The sequence is repeated. Ann gets slightly peeved but agrees. Paul will then up the ante in other ways.
Eventually, his brother Peter (Brady Corbett) arrives at the scene, also clad in a white outfit which is a clear homage to A Clockwork Orange. Ann proceeds to get more flustered and when her henpecked husband arrives, he can’t understand her anger because the guys have such simple requests and never raise their voices.
That is, until he learns.
Then the film takes such sick violent turns that it?s literally painful to watch. Haneke’s only let up is to give the boys asides to the camera before they continue with their ‘funny games’. A commentary on society? On what we see? Again, only Haneke knows. If you hate it, but it resonates in the back of the brain for days, then you’ll know Haneke’s succeeded with his extreme, inside joke.