Michael Haneke, the director of the film, once said that if Funny Games became a blockbuster, it was because people had not understood it. He has also commented on numerous occasions that what was proposed with her was not to make a horror movie, but a reflection on media violence. An anti-horror movie, which is what it really is. It is a film in which the theme is above the narrative, and of course many times that ends up being more controversial than the representation of violence on screen, something of which there is very little.
The film tells the story of a bourgeois family who drives by car, with the sailboat in the trailer, to his summer house, next to the lake. Parents play to guess what song sounds in the player, always putting pieces of classical music, in a stereotype of what is supposed to be bourgeois culture. The alteration of normality comes when Händel stops sounding to burst, like extradiegetic music, the thunderous chords of John Zorn, a group of thrash-punk. With that dissonance the film explains that a disturbing element is going to be introduced into the life of that peaceful and sweetened family, shaking its foundations, when a family that is preparing to spend a few days in their summer house next to the lake and, without any justification, they are abducted and tortured sadistically and cruelly by a couple of young people who say that they are guests of the neighboring family.
The paradox is that everyone who sees Funny Games waiting to see a typical movie of suffering and psychopaths will not find what they are looking for, but it is precisely that type of viewer that should see this movie. This is so because the nonsense of the action perpetrated by the two young people is the perfect reflection of the nonsense of watching violence on the screen and enjoying it, thus sponsoring the fictional show of those things that we would reject outright in reality.
Raw and direct, the film does not seek to be simple in its viewing and builds a narrative based on continuously challenging what the viewer believes it should expect. Long and tense plans dedicated to relatively banal activities replace violence, blood and blows, which always happen outside the screem and from which only the audio is given, leaving us with honey on the lips, facing our dark and violent desires but without pleasing those desires at any time.
There are many coincidences between A Clockwork Orange and Funny Games. In the first place, the delinquents dress with clean white clothes, and the leader assumes a cultural leadership that leads him to express himself in a refined way and to adopt exquisite manners, such as offering to heal the leg of the victim after having struck him. Each request of the two aggressors is accompanied by a please, which contrasts sharply with the violence that lies behind their educated appearance.
Breaking with all the conventions of the genre and depriving his audience of any kind of morbid satisfaction that the aggressiveness he sees on the screen offers, the director creates an intelligent argument against the representation of violence in the cinema and offers us a of the most wisely self-reflective films in the history of this art.
It's a great movie. But it is also true that there are people who do not support it for several reasons. I love it and, in any case, I think it's one of those films that do not leave anyone indifferent.
See you in the future!