3 Chilling and disturbing but entirely contrived.andy67uk | 01/08/2010 | See all andy67uk's reviews (1)'Funny Games' is certainly not a pleasant film to watch. As the title implies, this film is about Michael Haneke playing games with the audience rather than simply telling a story and this artistic strategy is borne out in the interview added on to this DVD edition.I don't want to give too much away, so I'll comment on the interview with the director. Haneke takes a rather mocking view of the audience by chastising viewers who would object to his film yet stay to watch the end of it; he implies they are perhaps sick for doing so. He also says that the scene where the female hostage shoots one of the torturers, caused many people at cinema screenings to clap with relief, only for them to fall into silence when the scene is rewound like a videotape and the woman is returned back to her terrible predicament. Haneke says that they were applauding murder by cheering the woman's actions. In essence they were not. Her actions were not an act of murder but a desperate act of self-defence, but, hey, this is only a film. However, Haneke seems to think that screen violence is the flip side of real violence. To the director the audience's reactions to the shooting are more than a reaction to a narrative, but a condonation of a 'murder', which it is not. The woman's actions can be judged as justifiable self-defence, whether as part of a narrative or real life itself.Haneke vainly congratulates himself for 'manipulating' the audience with this scene. However, this suggestion of manipulation is rather pompous of Haneke, as almost all films, in fact all forms of storytelling, manipulate the audience; it is part of the cathartic pleasure of watching a film and what makes cinema such a uniquely rich and rewarding experience, but this 'manipulation' ends the minute a film is over. We are perfectly capable of emotionally and intellectually distinguishing between a depiction of fictional violence and the real thing itself, and I think Haneke is mistaken to believe otherwise. This is a film everyone should watch or attempt to watch (it certainly isn't pleasant viewing), but I would take Haneke's thesis interlinking screen and real violence with a strong pinch of salt.