Caché ★★★★½

On a rewatch I realised that this film is one of the most smartest, complex and nuanced films I've ever seen and the definition of a film that gets better the more you think about it.

Caché (or in English: Hidden) is a "thriller" that explores marriage, social class and how we deal with our guilty conscience. Haneke uses the videotapes, which could possibly somehow act as a critique on the dangers of technology, as a way to delve into George's past and therefore create a sense of paranoia. Haneke smartly directs the film so that we feel that same paranoia and dread. I have to say Juliette Binoche, who is impressing me more and more with each film I see her in, portrays Anne's concern and resentment in a very authentic way.

The ending is one that I completely missed on a first viewing, but caught on a second one and it really made me uneasy because once you notice it (or detect it really), you almost rethink the entire film and see just how ambiguous it truly is. The title itself becomes even more appropriate because not only are there hidden cameras and hidden characters, there are now hidden answers. Why? Because Haneke doesn't want us to focus on those, but on the reactions instead and how we deal with them. Honestly, has a more appropriate title been ever given to a film before?

The film itself functions as a fuck-you to the conventions of a thriller (hence why I said "thriller"), by taking away thrilling qualities and replacing them with realism. It also makes you realise just how much you are used to those conventions of the thriller genre itself. But you are still unsettled because of how real it all feels.

Now here's the reason I don't give this film a perfect score. I don't feel Daniel Auteil's performance is effective enough in terms of portraying guilt. It may sound crazy but that's truly how I feel. Haneke himself will even claim guilt is the main theme, but for some reason as realistic as the performances are, I just don't see that guilt enough. Maybe Haneke is trying to say that guilt is shown through that lack of communication of George and while I can respect that, I just don't get that feeling through his performance. But then again could Haneke be implying that guilt is a subtle feeling? One that we even hide from ourselves? You could say it works considering how the film is all about hiding things but I don't know, it makes me feel as if this film isn't as effective as it should be. There's even a moment when George cries but it never felt like it was him letting that guilt out. As a result, this is a film where its thematic exploration of guilt isn't as powerful or well executed as it wants to be.

I feel a bit guilty (hehe guilt) about giving it this score, but for me it's a 4.5/5. I can fully understand why people give this a 5/5 though. It is my favourite Haneke as of this moment and I'm looking forward to seeing what else he has to offer.

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