Spoiler alert! Though I think one could watch “Funny Games” and enjoy it after reading my blog, I do give potential spoilers for the movie!
1) The Soundtrack/Score
I’ve always had a predilection towards metal and other scary sounds that many don’t consider music, but I do. Thanks to my friend Jim and my brother Eric, the entrance to Adventureland circa 1987 would not scare me anymore. But the entrance to “Funny Games” terrified me to the core. A song by Naked City called “Bonehead.” It contrasted excellently with the unsettingly lovely classical music in the beginning of the film. “Can we just have this movie?” I asked, as Naomi Watts & Company drove happily to their idyllic vacation spot.
2) The Kid
Kid actors, I have the ultimate empathy for them. I sort of/almost was one of them. And in the case of “Funny Games,” it was a movie where I really couldn’t even imagine either being THE kid, or being the parents of the kid actor (Devon Gearheart). According to IMDB, Tim Roth (the dad in the movie, who isn’t on the list, but was excellent) can’t even watch “Funny Games,” because Devon reminded him of his kid.
Back story given, Gearheart is a superb actor, IMO. His scenes were the ones that scared me, that I cared about most. He played a truly sympathetic character, and I will never know how a boy so young was able to conjure up so many things that adult actors spend years striving for — tears, terror…and even way before that, back in the beginning of the movie, he was a surprisingly not annoying kid. Tim and Naomi were lucky to have him. I don’t think the movie would have worked as well, had Devon Gearheart not been such a gem of a kid actor.
3) Naomi Watts
I’m not sure what exactly it is, about Naomi Watts. I recently read one of TWoP Jacob’s recaps, where he (I’m paraphrasing) said about Alanis Morrisette, that when she’s around, he feels more understood, and life makes more sense. I feel that way about Alanis, and I feel that way about Naomi. I adore her. And just when I think maybe I fell in love with Ms. Watts during a drunk and/or misguided moment, “Funny Games” happens before my eyes.
If Naomi Watts were cast in every horror movie, I’d be an aficionado. Because that woman is luminous. She is visceral. She is every reason that I acted, and every reason that I bowed out of acting. Naomi Watts has relentless Balls Of Steel that I can’t even begin to comprehend. The scene where she takes off her dress, and there on in — it was too little, too late for the character, but my God, Naomi Watts acts the hell out of all of it.
4) The Villain(s)
Brady Corbet asks for eggs, and Michael Pitt steps in later. Both are chilling to not even just the bone, but the marrow. Corbet sets up a fabulous Gift of Fear (have you read it yet? Read it plz!) foundation for the movie, then Pitt comes in and it’s like you’re grabbed by the throat.
From the get go, it was sinister. From the middle(?), the fourth wall was broken. By the time the knife that went off in the first act gets nonchalantly discarded in the third, we’ve lived another day in another life, and we feel it all get destroyed.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
5) The Frustration
WHY didn’t Naomi push Pitt into the water, and use the distraction to get her friends to help her.
WHY didn’t Roth & Son, and Everyone, listen to their barking dog.
But would any of that even have mattered, in the end? When the villain has control of the remote — and all of that is kind of the entire point.
Nice blog. I absolutely loved this film. A very disturbing experience, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.
Thanks Mark! And yes, totally. Brrr.
A movie you just don’t hear about. It’s so underrated. It is one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve sat through, but for good reasons. The moment Pitt looks into the camera and address you, the audience, is truly terrifying. Great post.
Thank you so much; I appreciate it! And yes, yes, yes, totally. When he first did that, I felt like…violated. “Don’t talk to me! Eyes on your own paper!”
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