170 mandatory viewing experiences.
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…
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 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…
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 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…
Tense, methodical study of a terrible crime and its festering aftermath.
In "Michael" erzählt Markus Schweizers aus der Perspektive des Täters von den letzten Monaten einer Kindesentführungen.
Das alleine sollte schon unangenehm sein, doch wird das alles noch intensiviert durch den deutlich an dem unaufgeregten Hyperrealismus seiner Landsleute Seidl und Haneke orientiertem Stiel.
Der Film fesselt und stößt, erzeugt Hoffnung und raubt sie im gleichen Moment, macht wütend und betroffen.
Wer die Filme seiner Kollegen zu schätzen weiß und sich auch an deren langsamer Erzählweise nicht stört, dem wird wohl auch Schweizers Film gefallen. Und wenn sich diesen Satz jemand für sein Erstlingswerk verdient, dann will das schon was heißen.
Could you make a film about a pedophile who locks up a boy in a cellar for 5 months?
WOULD you make a film about a pedophile who locks up a boy in a cellar for 5 months?
Well, this director did and he's handled it brilliantly. I am drawn towards difficult subject matters like this which we don't see in cinema much. Two great performances keeps this film very much on the dangerous tightrope it walks and it goes to prove that implication is often so much more powerful that graphic or in your face directing.
A fairly stupid, intensely empty-headed movie about a pedophile with a boy stashed in his basement. I’m not sure if the intended effect here was to shock or to create black comedy, but the film fails to work on either front. The supposed formal rigor that was attributed to the film at Cannes turns out to be superficial at best, delivering neither a sense of routine nor a deadening repetition of events. Schleinzer’s mock-rigor is about as convincing as the mock-shock that the film feigns in its exploration of its seedy subject matter. The last fifteen minutes, or so, in which we sit through misplaced suspense about the fate of the captured boy, expose the film as the cheap stunt that it is.
Well that was as unpleasant as it was well made.
In my opinion, of course!
And only including films that I've seen.
Hardly in order after the top fifty.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…