Funny Games (1997)
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Torture porn made in Germany? Oh well, at least I didn’t have to bother with bad snychronization…
The story. An upper class family – mother, father, son – arrive in their vacation lake house to do what upper class families do on vacation. Play golf, go sailing, meet other upper class families for dinner. Shortly after their arrival, two upper class young men show up, take the family hostage and play “funny games” with them, which obviously translates as torture and violence.
During the first hour, the movie really creates a strange and interesting atmosphere. The two men, calling each other Peter and Paul; Tom and Jerry; Beavis and Butthead, walk a narrow path between good manners and eloquence, and misanthropic sarcasm. They don’t give any reason for their deeds either – picture perfect psychopaths who simply enjoy the thrill.
However, after they kill the kid and leave the house, the movie takes some lengths and doesn’t manage to get the tension up again when they return. Of course, there are some unexpected and quite amusing scenes of breaking the fourth wall, but that alone is not enough to get back to the atmosphere of the beginning. A part of me waited for the turn from plain torture porn to rape’n’revenge, and that didn’t happen. Too bad, it wouldn’t have left this empty feeling of something missing.
Famous last words: Moderately funny, yet not the big joke I expected it to be.