Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Code Unknown

I'm a trifle reluctant towards Michael Haneke. I was underwhelmed by The Piano Teacher and Funny Games annoyed the hell out of me. But you know what they say: third times's the charm,

Was that the case with Code Unknown? Surprisingly yes. Perhaps it's because it's not pretentious and full of self-worth like The Piano Teacher and Funny Games. (Sorry, Tyler.) Instead, it's a damn fine film focusing on a menagerie of people, connected only by an incident that happens early on.

There are two things in Code Unknown that made me love it. The first is the acting. It feels very natural rather than forced like most of the actors in the other Haneke films I saw. It flows as the film progresses.

The second thing is how Code Unknown is shot. Many of its scenes are shot in long takes, which is a risky move in itself. (God knows how many times it took to get each scene right.) All in all, a clever decision from Haneke.

As mentioned above, third time's the charm. And Code Unknown is definitely a charm. It just works wonderfully. Especially after seeing The Piano Teacher and Funny Games, I was surprised this was a work from Haneke. That's a good thing, mind you.

My Rating: *****


  1. I must say I breathed a huge sigh of relief reading this. I was so afraid you wouldn't like the film, because I do know people who don't like it (and resent me for recommending it).

    There are so many things that I love about Code Unknown (you can read about it here, in this post I published only a few days ago: I think the one thing that really struck a chord with me was how much Haneke could say about our society (particularly our racial attitudes toward each other) without being over-the-top. He never shoves his message in the viewer's face (I'll admit freely he did that in Funny Games), but allows them to piece it together. It's a really enigmatic film and I like that.

  2. Given your grade variances with Haneke's films, I'd be really curious to see what you'd give The Seventh Continent. That's my favorite Haneke.


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