Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #33: Caché (2005)

Michael Haneke's Caché is a rare type of suspense-thriller.

It's minimalist. It's super-creepy. And it's refreshingly open-ended.

Caché is the story of Georges and Anne Laurent, an ordinary couple in France who begin to receive ominous videotapes on the doorstep of their home. At first the cassettes, which appear to be shot in high-definition (a technological impossibility, for all intents and purposes), contain surveillance-style footage of the area outside the Laurent's home.

To be fair, this is unsettling at best.

But the theme of the tapes gradually evolve--they depict more and more specific instances and settings, and for Georges, the subject matter gradually gets closer to home (in the strictly non-literal sense).

Caché is an excellent film, not least of all for its commitment to postmodern storytelling. Not only is the film self-reflexive (a film about film) but it also manages to avoid conclusive elements. (The explanation for this can be found in an interview with director Michael Haneke, included on the DVD--he provides some really interesting perspective into what the film is actually about, but I'd recommend watching it after the feature).

Haneke's film manages to be highly compelling despite being somewhat abstract and relatively uneventful. It's one of the more accessible examples of postmodern film that I've seen, and it takes an irresistible premise and totally pulls it off without getting too caught up in lame twists or illogical character leaps taken in service of advancing the plot.

Certainly, the genius of Caché lies in its simplicity, but incidentally that's where the suspense comes from too.

I'd certainly recommend Caché for fans of the suspense/thriller genre, but also to those looking at getting into the films of Michael Haneke. Haneke is known for tackling some pretty dark territory in some of his films (Funny Games certainly comes to mind without hesitation), but Caché is very nonthreatening in its content. The gripping psychological element of Caché subverts the need for shocking images or disturbing scenes, which makes it a great starting point for anyone interested in trying out Haneke's catalogue.

Overall, Caché is the ideological opposite of the most recent film I reviewed, 2003's Canadian feature, Nothing. It takes a cool premise and makes it into a cool movie, and in no way did I find its delivery of the goods unsatisfactory.

So if you're interested in this little gem, don't be shy--Caché is hidden in the Austria section.

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