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Funny Games

Year: 2008
Production Co: Celluloid Dreams
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt
Ten years on, German enfant terrible Haneke remakes his own movie shot for shot and word for word. Asking why would need its own review, but if you've seen the original, the only reason to revisit it is to see how accomplished performers like Watts, Pitt and Roth handle this brutal but ironically elegant home invasion story.

While it's never pleasant, you'll see fewer more effective films this year as Haneke expertly tightens the tension and sense of doom around your throat. It's not until after such nihilistic tragedy you realise how little of the violence was on screen - terror has been his weapon of choice.

But even that's not the whole story. Funny Games isn't just a thriller - the villain (Pitt) occasionally talks straight to the audience. When things don't go his way he searches frantically for the TV remote to put them right. It's clearly not the universe we know, and what Haneke's saying about the role of violence in media and vice versa could fill a thesis.

That strange world might go some way to explaining the unlikely coincidences and happenstance that would make a 'normal' plot ridiculous. But what's going on in the story almost isn't the point. It's about violence in the media, playing with the conventions of the medium. It's probably not meant to be taken literally and despite being beautifully shot and edited, it's not meant to be realistic.

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