Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Funny Games (2007 Remake)

Plot Synopsis: A unsuspecting family's quiet vacation turns into a hellish descent into unimaginable terror as two seemingly friendly youths taunt, interrogate & subject the family to ever increasing sadist "games". Funny, they're not.

Obviously, the first question with this movie is: why remake a perfectly good movie?

Well, if your Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, and you want to reach as big an audience as possible, then really your only option is to make something that will play well in the American marketplace. After all, it's all about bums on seats! In doing so, you have to pick the best possible material that will be commercially viable. i.e what genre is currently "hot". It would seem that psycho-horror scare-fests are the trend in the U.S at present, so Haneke picked his best Austrian movie to translate into English, 1997's "Funny Games".

Like Gus Van Sant's remake of "Psycho", Haneke's remake of his own movie is a shot-by-shot facsimile of the original version. So, with that in mind, it should be exactly as you remember the original? And yes, it is for the most part. My only niggle was with the 2 bad boys. In the original the humour is different (European sensibilities?),in the U.S version, the younger thug (Peter) is noticeably more annoying. Not in a good sense either! However, that's perhaps entirely forgivable - sometimes words can get misconstrued in translation.

For me, this translation into the american market succeeds because the source material was exceptionally well conceived. This version just makes it available for a wider audience. Sometimes, that's not such a bad thing.

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