Sunday, April 20, 2008

Funny Games U.S.

You're Not Funny

The next remake however, is an almost shot-for-shot, scene for scene treatment of Michael Haneke's own film back in 1997, now suffixed with U.S. in acknowledging the new funding and new cast that come to be in the movie. However, I question the real rationale why this would be remade for the modern audience, as the original seems like it's able to withstand the annals of time.

Of course having films remade this way is nothing new, with Gus Van Sant doing the same with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, but at least it had someone else at the helm, probably wanting to challenge himself if his retelling, only with a change in case and everything else ceteris paribus, would be able to evoke the same emotional, horrific response. But I couldn't really understand a director remaking his own works, and a scene for scene one at that, except to perhaps work with a different cast in a different country.

Naomi Watts headlines the movie, and together with Tim Roth, they form the couple Ann and George, who with their kid Georgie (Devon Gearhart), are off for a vacation in their home away from home, and as the story goes, things start to get really strange when they begin to encounter the duo Paul (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbet), dressed in white and in gloves, behaving quite strangely outside of social norms, and adamant in playing games as they soon find themselves captives under the hands of sociopaths.

While Haneke's intention of the original movie was to highlight the notion of senseless violence, I felt that having this remake done, is to bait folks like me who are back, curious to find out more, the second time round, despite being told that it's exactly the same. Like masochists who revisit their pain points, I too fall under this group of the curious, and again find myself being questioned on whose side am I on, and whether I'd begin to advocate violence against violence, as the only way to solve the issue at hand.

While Naomi Watts can play terrified, likely honed from her scream queen stint from King Kong, Michael Pitt deserves mention as the chillingly cold villain, and managed to equal Amo Frisch's performance of the same character in the original. Other than that, Tim Roth's character as usual is wasted, because his potential threat level has been reduced, and Brady Corbet as the partner also managed to equal Frank Giering of the original, though of course being more of a sidekick to Paul.

If one should recommend which version to go for, I'd say you can go for either or. But if you had already watched the original, then you might want to give this a skip as it doesn't offer any other new insights, since after all, it's the same story, development and finale, even right down to the heavy rock soundtrack used.

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