Funny Games 2.0

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I just finished watching the 2007 remake of Funny Games, which is apparently a shot-for-shot faithful retelling of the original foreign film – which makes sense, because it’s done by the same director (wait, what?). It’s probably been about 10 years since I’ve seen the first one, and I remember liking it – but what I didn’t remember is that it at times breaks the fourth wall, and employs one really super dumb use of it.

The movie is essentially a home invasion piece, but done in a much more laid back way than something like say, The Strangers (a movie which happens to scare the crap out of me). Two polite young boys show up a family’s summer vacation home, and it takes everyone awhile to realize that something’s not quite right.

Unfortunately by then, the two calm, but crazy, dudes have incapacitated both the husband and the only cell phone in the house, apparently leaving the wife and son totally helpless. I was still down with the plan, even though it seemed weird to me that no one was fighting back – I mean, they had a golf club, sure, but there were knives and guns IN THE HOUSE. I’m just sayin’.

Where it started to lose me (and make me wonder why I remembered liking the first one so much) was when Michael Pitt’s character, Paul, starts looking at the audience, and asking them questions about what they think is going to happen. And then it totally lost any scariness it had by having Paul actually pick up a remote and rewind the film to correct an instance where Naomi Watts’ character actually does fight back.

I realize that this film is trying to make a point about violence, and us watching violence, and how violence is treated in movies, etc. And the ending dialog between the two guys hammers it home, I KNOW. We’re all pigs, I get it. But uh, that still sucked. I would have preferred a straight-up uncomfortable serial killer movie wherein these two boys run around this secluded lake area murdering everyone and getting away with it. Just sayin’.

That said, the casting was pretty fantastic (full disclosure: I am totally in love with Naomi Watts and think she is fantastic in everything) and there was some pretty harrowing moments. Bonus points to having most of the shooting, stabbing, and hitting off screen – with only some gruesome sound effects to clue us in to what was going on.

Side note: Has anyone ever thought about why Michael Pitt is so good at playing a murderer? He gets that far-away, cold, vacant look just right.

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