Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Funny Games (2008)

Funny Games (2008) is a psychological thriller, shot by shot remake of the original film of the same name, which was made in 1997 Austria. The film follows a family on there trip to there summer house where the story takes a turn for the worst as they are introduced to two young boys named Peter and Paul. Peter and Paul then abduct the family within there own house and play a series of games in which the prize is there life. Throughout the storyline of the film there are multiple high/low points which create a great depth of story and wins the right reaction set out for from the audience. In many points of the film, the viewer (in this case myself) truly feels for the characters desperately hoping for them to survive and have the film finish in the way which the viewer desperately hopes for.

Not only is this achieved through a great storyline, but also a great use of editing techniques. So why is the film postmodern? The film is seen as postmodern due to numerous different scenes/ideas of the film, some for example include the idea that the film is a shot by shot remake, it plays with the psychological ideas in which the audience would like to see/plan how the movie could end, and it breaks the '4th wall' within film.

Both of the films 'Funny Games' (1997 - 2008) are directed by Michael Haneke, first shot in 1997 for the Austrian audience, then shot again in 2008 for the American audience. This in its self is a slight act of postmodernism, the idea of taking what was once there, and using it again to create a new movie, it just so happens to be that in this case the film is a shot by shot remake and created by the same director. To create a successful sub genre horror film, there are a set of conventions which are used and needed to grab the attention of the American audience. Some great films in which take this convention and use them to there advantage include Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street etc. Haneke knows this as a convention to grab the attention of the American audience, but at the same time he does not use them. Instead he creates a great psychological thriller which uses the audience as a tool of communication between the film and real life making the film feel all the more real life and 'scary'. Throughout the film it isn't obvious what will happen to the characters As mentioned before, Funny Games is a psychological thriller, it plays with the torment of the mind, not only within the film on the characters but also outside the film on the audience. It takes the mind of the viewer makes makes you believe you could change the way in which the story goes or even change the ending of the film, a psychological attachment is created between the viewer and the characters, which puts the viewers on the side of the tormented family, a question which is even asked within the film.


This then leads onto the idea of breaking the '4th wall' within cinema. This occurrence takes place within the film, both by Paul, a character who knows he is within a film. These occurrences break the '4th wall' which interact the audience within the film, making the film all the more real and psychologically scary, it almost creates the feeling the Haneke is attempting to put the audience through the same horror as the characters within the film, which in many cases as a viewer it works. Once the rule of the '4th wall' is broken it allows the viewer to believe that they are taking part in the film, which in a way is quite a postmodern expression. But this illusion that the audience is taking part within the film which almost feels like real life is soon shattered in a scene which includes a great deal of relief for both the characters and the audience. Its a scene in which the characters get there revenge by shooting Peter in the chest with a shotgun, but this relief is then snatched away by the character and audience when Peter grabs the TV remote, rewinds the film, and lets it play out in a way which suits the killers. A technique which brings the viewers back to reality and back the fact that they are an audience watching a film, not real life.


So overall i would say that Funny Games serves well as a great psychological thriller, as well as a great postmodern film. This is due to its overall good storyline and editing techniques in which allow the film to be classed as postmodern.

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