Movies that are slightly off.
A drama focused on five months in the life of pedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his basement.
A film with such a challenging and sensationalist subject matter as this (a man keeps a child locked in his basement) would lend itself to being exploitative yet director Markus Schleinzer’s, Michael, is far from trashy and is all the more disturbing as a result whilst its timely connection to the Josef Fritzl case makes it frighteningly believable.
The film documents, in cold aloofness, the banality and routine of their ‘relationship’. There is little emphasis on character histories, how long the boy has been Michael’s prisoner and sex slave nor even any moral outrage aimed towards the lead. Instead it is detached with static framing forcing the audience to focus on every little detail and imprisoning the characters within the…
Twenty-sixth watch of March around the World: Austria. Surprisingly watchable due to the detached stance of filmmaker Markus Schleinzer, which I think is the only ‘good’ way to tackle the subject of a paedophile who has a ten-year-old locked in his basement. An emotional drama would always result in something exploitive or worse; this on the other hands keeps temperatures low, even though some (implicated) scenes - naturally - will make the viewer’s blood boil. As a whole, however, the film relies too much on its unbelievably satisfying ending; it wouldn’t mind if there were more elements contributing to the plot, since it is already quite unique in its premise and doesn’t need to be so stripped down in order…
Part of the 30 countries festival. Austria
I have no clue why this film works.
Michael is one sick puppy, that much we know right from the beginning.
He is the worst of the worst.
Considering that the film is basically a two-hander with Michael being the centre of it all, it is unimaginable that this film could hold your attention for more than 10 minutes. Why didn't I leave in disgust? Why was I so engaged? How did writer/director Markus Schleinzer pull that off?
I think it has to do with two things: our fascination with evil and the 'fly-on-the-wall' camera.
We all know evil people don't have fangs. We know this, but it doesn't change the fact that…
This is a very disturbing movie. Michael is a middle aged man that has a good job....seems normal.....yet he has a boy locked up in his cellar. Movie is mostly told through the eyes of Michael the monster. Based on his setup, this is something he has been doing for a very long time. Not really sure what the point of the movie was.....maybe it was to show some monsters are walking around right now....and most people are too busy to notice. I guess the movie was well done.....but the subject makes it hard to give a recommendation.
Although the similarities to Haneke have been noted in other reviews, the film this most reminded me of was Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Both films throw out any preconceptions of their subject and cast them in a unemotional, non-judgemental light and allow you to really get inside the mind of their central figure.
Away from the captive child he keeps locked in his basement, Michael is largely portrayed as a very boring, very normal man and it's easy to see how someone like him could largely go under the radar. However, as we see more and more of Michael and his day to day life, the cracks begin to appear and knowing his secret gives you a different…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s What A Wonderful World: May 30 days, 30 countries.
Film 8 – May 8 – Austria
The first thing that surprised me about Michael is that I didn’t immediately want to leave the room. If I had known anything about the story ahead of time, I probably would have passed on this screening. I’m a parent, and this is the worst possible nightmare. Hell, I’m so skittish that I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch The Sweet Hereafter, and my son is an adult now.
Schleinzer’s dispassionate eye, combined with the incredible understated performances by both Michael Fuith and the young David Rauchenberger act like an anesthetic. The most horrific parts are…
Everyone who wouldn't see Room because they thought it was too much thought that film was this one. Incredibly difficult to watch, but provocative and riveting in its slow unfurling of context. I thought it was a real achievement even though I will never see it again by any means...
A man goes about his daily routines. Chores at home; at work in a call centre he deals with insurance claims. A life of dull normality, except he has a boy locked in his cellar. The film is a play between normality and abnormality. The man and the boy go through a life of routine: meals, washing up. They have a day out and they look like a father and son on a normal day out, but they can never be that, we must always be aware that this is a relationship based on coercion and power. The man slaps the boy across the back of the head for talking back: an expression of power and authority, but one of…
Tonally, I was obsessed with this. This filmmaker is so meticulous. Hard cuts, perfectly storyboarded, just so well put together. I do wish it pushed the emotional content a bit harder, but then again, there was an admirable sense of distance between the film and viewer that seemed to work throughout the piece.
If every film was made in the style and with the masterful technique that Michael is, it wouldn't matter what subject it dealt with; it would still be a masterpiece.
The naturalistic style and clever narrative structure create what most films lack: suspense and excitement through realism. The acting performances are flawless, the cinematography brilliantly Seidlesque and the theme de-sensationalised in a marvellous way.
I can bet almost anything that this will be in the top 5 of all films I watch this year as it comes to a close.
*Hands my friend six DVDs*
Me: "So which one do you want to watch."
*Friend starts going through DVDs*
To Myself: (Please don't pick Michael, please don't pick Michael).
Friend: "Hey, this movie Michael looks pretty weird. Want to watch it?
To Myself: (Say no)!
Me: "Yeah, definitely."
BIG MISTAKE. GODDAMMIT.
I haven't been this fucked up from a movie since watching Angst and that's saying something considering NONE of the violence (except for a car crash) or sexual content is shown on the screen, only alluded to, which makes this movie all the more chilling. This is definitely one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen, and probably the most realistic portraits of a pedophile I've seen on film.…
Una historia terrible narrada con absoluta delicadeza. Dejando lo más violento a la imaginación permite que la película se desarrolle con elegancia. Qué miedo la veracidad de todo, qué miedo la psicología de los personajes y la posibilidad de la vida real :S
Everyone seems to think this is grim and depressing so I had to watch it again to check that it is a black comedy like I first thought. And it definitely is. The funniest bit, the knife/cock bit, has perfect comic timing.
This film also has one of the all time greatest endings ever.
From a critical perspective, there’s nothing ground-breaking about Michael; its cinematography, editing, production values, etc. are all as good as you’d expect from this kind of production. Where the film shines is simply in its character relationships; the depiction of Michael and his captive, Wolfgang. Michael is not excessively demonized and is shown to be a fairly average guy on the surface. He works an office job at an insurance company, occasionally hangs out with some drinking buddies (although admittedly he looks rather detached from the experience) and even goes on skiing holidays. We even see that he still stays in close contact with his family, and here we drive towards Michael’s primary, and best presented point.
The overall message…
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…
Top 200 is pretty definitive. Essentially the top/most memorable 20-25% of all the films I've seen in my life (which…