Funny Games U.S.

Director: Michael Haneke
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 2.0

Shot-for-shot remake of Haneke's most infamous picture begs for a word-for-word repeat of my capsule of the original: *** Aggressive, accusatory film about two teen-youngsters (wearing matching golf shirts and shorts and Wagnerian white gloves) who torture and kill a bourgeois family just for the hell of it (their motivations are never discussed and perhaps irrelevant). It's something of a litmus test Haneke has set up for his audience - he feels (and this is voiced through the "sick" youths, who periodically address the camera Woody-style and admonish us for wanting to see the film) that we, the people who watch films like this, are somehow responsible for the acts of violence and that we want to see people die. However, his "theory" is a bit off, after I thought about it for a while, and I doubt anyone would find any of the on-goings to be "entertaining." In fact, the film is so reckless that it's something of a pretentious affront to the audience that is neither subtle nor artistic. The Belgian film Man Bites Dog seems to have the right idea, the more I think about it: it's a "black comedy" that makes you laugh at things and enjoy things in a way that should make you squirm because they are sick and "should not" be funny - it even created a main character, or murderer, who is genuinely charismatic and interesting to add more of a twist to the mix, whereas Haneke never thinks to involve you in that kind of way. He'd rather slap you in the face.