Funny Games (2007 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Haneke|
|Produced by||Hamish McAlpine
|Written by||Michael Haneke|
|Editing by||Monika Willi|
|Distributed by||Warner Independent Pictures|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Funny Games is a 2007 psychological thriller film written and directed by Michael Haneke, a remake of Haneke's 1997 Austrian film Funny Games. Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbet star in the main roles. The film is a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 film, albeit in English and set in the United States with different actors. Exterior scenes were filmed on Long Island.
After the 2007 film used the same house including props and tones, Robert Koehler of Cineaste wrote that this "proves for certain that—whether he uses the great cinematographer Jurgen Jurges [ DE ] (for the 1997 version) or the great Darius Khondji (for the new film)—Haneke is fundamentally his own cinematographer exercising considerable control over the entire look of his films."
Members of a loving family -- George and Ann Farber, their son Georgie, and their dog -- arrive at their lake house. Their next-door neighbor, Fred, is seen with two young men, Peter and Paul, who seem to be friends or relatives. The young men come over to borrow eggs. Ann is in the kitchen cooking while George and Georgie are outside by the lake, tending to their boat. They seem friendly, and they admire a golf club belonging to George.
After leaving, Peter and Paul return with the eggs broken. They request more eggs, which also end up broken, Ann becomes frustrated, but when George tries to force the men to leave, Peter breaks George's leg with the golf club. The family is taken hostage.
Ann tries to call for help on a cell phone, but finds it unusable, Peter having dropped it in the sink. Paul then guides Ann on a hunt to find the family's dog, which he has killed with George's golf club. When neighbors visit, Ann passes the two men off as friends.
The family is forced to participate in a number of sadistic games in order to stay alive. Paul asks if George or Ann wants to bet that they will be alive by 9:00 in the morning, doubting that they will be. Between playing their games, the two men keep up a constant patter. Paul frequently ridicules Peter's weight and lack of intelligence. He describes a number of contradicting stories of Peter's past, though no definitive explanation is ever presented as to the men's origins or motives.
Georgie tries to escape. He attempts to climb a locked gate but changes his mind and goes to the neighbors' empty house. Georgie attempts to shoot Paul with a shotgun, but the gun fails to go off. Paul returns him to the living room, along with the shotgun.
The men play a new game, saying whoever gets counted out will be shot. Georgie panics and makes a run for his life, which results in Peter shooting and killing him. Paul is a little annoyed that Peter didn't follow the rules of their game to the letter.
George and Ann weep for their loss. They eventually resolve to survive. Ann is able to flee the house while George, with a broken leg, desperately tries to make a call on the malfunctioning phone. Ann struggles to find help, only to be re-captured by Peter and Paul, who return her to the house. After stabbing George, they attempt to force Ann to make a choice for her husband, between a painful, prolonged death with the knife or a quick death with the shotgun.
Ann seizes the shotgun on the table in front of her and kills Peter. An enraged Paul grabs the shotgun and starts looking for the television remote. Upon finding it, he literally rewinds all the day's occurrences back to a moment before Ann grabs the shotgun, thereby breaking the fourth wall. On the "do over," Paul snatches the shotgun away and admonishes her, saying she isn't allowed to break the rules.
Peter and Paul then kill George and they take Ann, bound and gagged, out onto the family's boat. Around eight o'clock in the morning, they nonchalantly throw her into the water to drown, thus winning their bet. They dock at the house of the neighbors who had previously visited the family. They request some eggs, thereby restarting their cycle of murder.
- Naomi Watts as Ann Farber
- Tim Roth as George Farber
- Michael Pitt as Paul
- Brady Corbet as Peter
- Devon Gearhart as George "Georgie" Farber, Jr.
- Siobhan Fallon as Betsy Thompson
- Boyd Gaines as Fred Thompson
- Robert LuPone as Robert
- Susanne C. Haneke as Betsy's sister-in-law
- Linda Moran as Eve
The film made its British premiere at the London Film Festival on October 20, 2007. Its United States premiere was at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2008. It began a limited release in the United States and Canada on March 14, 2008, distributed by Warner Independent. A wider release to more theaters came on April 8, 2008. The film was shown at the Istanbul Film Festival in April 2008. It did not receive a wide theatrical release in the United States before coming out on DVD. Funny Games was a box office failure, grossing a little more than half of its $15 million budget. Guardian writer Geoffrey Macnab included Funny Games's lack of success among the reasons for the closure of Tartan Films, which co-produced the film and released it in the United Kingdom. In Germany, the film was released under the title "Funny Games U.S.".
The DVD was released on June 10, 2008, in the US. The DVD does not contain any extra material but instead it includes both widescreen and full screen editions on one disc. In the UK, the DVD and Blu-ray were released on July 28 with the extra material being the original theatrical trailer, Q&A with producers Hamish McAlpine and Chris Coen, interviews with the cast, viral video clips and film notes.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. As of September 6, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 52% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 132 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 41 out of 100, based on 33 reviews.
Todd Gilchrist from IGN called the film "Unrelenting and brilliant, Funny Games is a truly great film – an incisive, artistic triumph that doubles as a remarkably thrilling and unique cinematic experience." Conversely, Joshua Rothkopf from Time Out New York called the film "a sour project that defines anti-imaginative." A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote: "At least with the remake Funny Games, Mr. Haneke shows a certain kinship with someone like Eli Roth, whose Hostel movies have brought nothing but scorn from responsible critics." The Chicago Sun-Times review of March 14, 2008 gave the film a mere half-star out of a possible four.
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- Scott, A. O. (March 14, 2008). "Funny Games – Movie – Review – The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
- "The 100 Worst Movies of 2008". Times Online (London: Times Newspapers). December 8, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-31. (Archive)
- Funny Games at the Internet Movie Database
- Funny Games at allmovie
- Funny Games at Box Office Mojo
- Funny Games at Rotten Tomatoes
- Funny Games at Metacritic