Funny Games

(2008) ** 1/2 R
112 min. Warner Independent Pictures. Director: Michael Haneke. Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart, Michael Pitt.
In a way, Michael Haneke's Funny Games is the best-made bad movie you'll ever see, something equivalent to Stanley Kubrick directing Death Wish 6. With painstaking control, Haneke details a horrifying home invasion. A husband and wife (Tim Roth and Naomi Watts) and their young son (Devon Gearhart) find their vacation home overrun by two intensely creepy young men out for the sickest kicks imaginable (they're played by Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet). Haneke has in mind the indictment of an inhumanly bloodthirsty audience; the auteur does everything in his power to ruin the entertainment value of film violence. But Haneke's ultra-sadistic cinema of cruelty trumps this end, instead amounting to a monumentally nihilistic dramatization of the question "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Answer: they just do.
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