It is funny how re-seeing something that had a strong affect on you has none of that trascendent value the second time around. It is as though you integrated all the conscience-altering notions but they seemed to have had no depth, no profound space for ponderous excavation.
So it makes this movie mostly essayistic. But it is Haneke’s most pure essay, because it is stricly that, no poetry (very litte), no meditation, no otherworlds. I like it because it is clever the way it fools us when it shouldn’t. Oh yes, the suspense is thrilling, but since there is no payoff, it counters it. I have no problem with this, but it is clearly targeting a different audience than it appears to be. This is partially the reason why it is getting smashed by the general moviegoing public.
Of course, this is all part of Haneke’s concerns with real/unreal-reality, the trust in the image, and others of his various philosophical pursuits. Dont think for one second that he’s not aware of the general reaction here. This only hammers the point home. We want some form of instant gratification, we receive none, so we feel frustrated resentment, we unleash our anger on the screen, on message boards, amongst friends…But at some point, in the midst of our assertion of this frustration, there is the possibility that we will find ourselves one step closer to the tipping point, the one that can make us think otherwise about the movie.
This is ambitious, but the method is not the best. I prefer the bittersweet pill effect, something seemingly rewarding but with a deep layer of danger.
P.S.: Some people think the movie is an attack on the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, but there is no indication that this family was living a ‘normal and comfortable’ life before the movie happens to them.