Step One: Go to www.random.org.
Step Two: Pick a Number.
Step Three: GET WEIRD!
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.
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…
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…
This is challenging viewing. Schleinzer has the same objective eye as Michael Haneke (with whom he worked on The White Ribbon), and the same devious wit. He uses his simple images reflectively, making the observer (re)consider their own assumptions and prejudices. What's most disturbing about this film is not that it is wall-to-wall creepy, but how dreadfully normal everything seems. Outside the underground lair, the activities of Michael and Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger) appear on the surface to be those of an only child and a grumpy parent. We're helpless observers in this quietly unfolding nightmare. Whether Michael is any more than an extended exercise in discomfort is debatable. It doesn't attempt to explore the psychology of its central character, as…
Film has one of the best endings, with the tailor-made song playing in the background.
Michael is a pedophile and locked in his basement he has a ten year old boy.
I won Michael in a contest a couple of years ago and totally forgot all about it until tonight when my wife picked todays movie. Michael is a disturbing Austrian drama about the dark side of humanity with top notch acting. No tired Hollywood clichés, no given answers. Michael is what it is, a hard hitting tale of the forbidden that feels extremely realistic. If you like the cinema of Haneke you'll probably like Michael.
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.…
Step One: Go to www.random.org.
Movies that are slightly off.