31 March 2006

Haneke, Kubrick, And The Emperor's New Suit

France's "Cache"--aka "Hidden"--has shaped up to be the foreign film du jour, and not surprisingly, it's been smothered with the usual critical merde. If the cognoscenti fall for one thing, it's snail-paced Euro-ambiguity, and there are plenty of PBS-totebag-types standing on the sidelines ready to compliment Mr. Haneke on his new clothes. Now, some of you will dismiss my assessment as the result of too many comic books and B-horror movies (given most of this site's content), but I don't think I'm asking too much if I expect a director to give me an actual ending in return for two hours of my life. Especially since that for most of its running time, "Cache" is an absolutely riveting dramatic thriller, with performances, direction, and nuances of plot as good as anything else I've seen onscreen all year. Pity that Haneke succumbed to the urge to cop out with a ham-fisted allegory about Algerian injustices, and leave the rest of us hanging and pondering the sins we committed when we were six.

But I'm not the only one who feels this way: check out David Poland's dissenting view at The Hot Button (he's got the good sense to defend Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut", too).