Neil's Movie Review of Funny Games (2008)

Rating of

Funny Games (2008)

Funny Games for the dark and demented
Neil - wrote on 05/27/08

The biggest debate surrounding the release of Funny Games in the US is whether someone should bother to watch if they have seen the original German-language version {Funny Games}. Originally release in 1997, the Austrian version became popular in the US following the announcement of the US version. Many avid movie watchers were curious and wanted to see what the original was about. Many fans have been disappointed to discover that the US release is essentially scene-by-scene, step-by-step, and line-by-line the same. The only difference is the US version has a slightly more updated feel, and of course, it uses some well-known American actors.

It is hard to write a review of Funny Games (USA) without reflecting a bit on how it compares to the original. The plot of the story is so unique and the subtle way in which the horror develops in the movie is what makes it innovative. There is nothing overly awe-inspiring about the action or the lines in the script, but the way the movie plays out is intriguing to viewers in an almost guilty way.

Let’s start with a review of the US DVD release and then compare it a bit with the earlier version. This story begins in a very off-beat way. A family of three, George (Tim Roth), Ann (Naomi Watts), and little Georgie (Devon Gearhart), are one their way to spend a couple weeks at their vacation home. Upon arriving, George and Georgie head to get the boat read for a sail, while Ann prepares dinner. Soon, Ann and George are surprised when a strange guest appears at the door seeking to borrow eggs for the neighbors. This seems innocent enough. However, several awkward moments and interactions later, two deranged young men are engaged in an argument with Ann.

George and Georgie reenter the house and following a few more awkward moments, Peter (Brady Corbet) hits George in the leg with a golf club, wounding him. Ann returns and is shocked to see what has developed. From here, the story gets crazy, as Peter and his more dominant partner, Paul (Michael Pitt), begin to physically and emotionally torture the family for several hours. They invite them to play several sick and twisted games and make a bet that they will all be dead by nine o’clock the next morning.

Again, there is nothing exceedingly unique about the dark and violent nature of this film. Its strengths lie more in the twisted and demented minds of the killers, some subtle interludes of quirky movie humor (such as Paul periodically talking to the audience through the camera lens). The story itself is fairly depressing. There are a few scenes and plot elements that are not generally used in American movies that are likely carried over from the more loose entertainment and social culture in Europe.

It is hard to give an entirely fair assessment of Funny Games, the US version, after having seen the Austrian version previously. The acting is decent. Naomi Watts is good. Tim Roth is okay in his less dominant role. It is hard to get involved with the two as a couple, as it does not seem realistic. Corbet and Pitt are solid in their roles as demented killers. In some ways, however, we found the German-language version of Funny Games to be a bit more effective as the natural humor and unique components of the movie were more impacting as portrayed from a non-American perspective. While we do find the story a bit grim and depressing, and advise people to be cautious with it, our strong grade is based on the innovative qualities of the film.

Recent Comments

Alex - wrote on 06/03/08 at 04:07 PM CT

Funny Games Review comment

You should rate this movie.....sounds like you like it though...

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