A wealthy Austrian family drives through the country to their summer home in a gated, upper-class, Hamptons-like community listening to classical music. For two full minutes, we just see the car, hear the music and a polite game the parents are playing in trying to guess the name of the piece. This is the last peaceful game we are to see in a picture that will mess with not only the family but the viewer as well. When we finally do see Father, Mother and young Son, their peaceful ride - at least for us - is interrupted by loud, vile, disruptive punk rock music. This continues through the rest of the opening credits, and leaves the audience (well me at least) in a state of agitation. It is a blatant indication that the lives of this oblivious family are about to experience a massive disruption.
Thus begins Michael Haneke's 1997 picture Funny Games, a film about a bourgeois family taken hostage in their lavish, gated summer house by a pair of sadistic, emotionally detached 'game players.' The real targets of this game are not the family, but the audience evidenced by the fact that one of the killers periodically breaks the fourth wall to wink and talk directly to the audience. Doing some reading on the film, Haneke did not intend this to be taken as a traditional thriller or horror, but a commentary on audiences and desensitization of human violence thanks to Hollywood movies. It does achieve this to some degree.
|Might as well smile now, because they won't be for much longer.|
|I know you're out there in the dark watching.|
|Sure we look like nice rich guys, but...not so much.|
|I think you were playing a Slazenger 1 and this is a Slazenger 7.|
|Silly audience, they're like putty in our hands.|
|And you thought we were going to go easy on the kid...|
|The first act of violence also happens off-screen, broken eggs.|