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18 rating
  • Contains strong sustained threat, humiliation and violence
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Funny Games U.S.

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Funny Games U.S. 18 rating

Michael Haneke’s English-language remake of his earlier, Austrian film is both a shocking home-invasion thriller and a potent commentary on cinematic violence.

Horror 2007 107 mins


Michael Haneke joins the list of rare directors who've remade their own works by reshooting his acclaimed 1997 Austrian film in English, with a Hollywood cast. A cerebral yet shockingly violent home-invasion thriller, it stars Naomi Watts as a housewife confronted with a pair of nihilistic intruders, hell-bent on destroying her cultivated bourgeois existence.

As ever, Haneke isn't solely interested in the plot's surface dramatics, and Funny Games is intended to be a Brechtian, fourth-wall-breaking discourse on the morality of screen violence, prompting us to question our reactions to the onscreen carnage. But even as a disturbing thriller it is icily effective. Ostensibly funded with the motive of bringing the critically acclaimed Haneke to a wider audience, the director himself presumably also relished the idea of targeting the English-speaking mainstream with his ideas, seeing as it’s an audience theoretically more inured to the comic-book movie violence he’s attacking. But the film failed to break out beyond the arthouse and remains Haneke's only foray into English-language cinema. For the adventurous viewer, Funny Games remains an essential Haneke experience. The appearance of the ever-excellent Naomi Watts alongside Tim Roth, Michael Pitt and Bradley Corbett, arguably imbues the film with a stronger power than the original; seeing Hollywood stars like Watts perform such devastating material makes for unforgettable viewing.