This utterly compelling psychological thriller from Michael Haneke - one of cinema's most daring original and controversial directors - stars Daniel Auteuil as Georges, a television presenter who begins to receive mysterious and alarming packages containing covertly filmed videos of himself and his family. To the mounting consternation of Georges and his wife (Juliette Binoche) the footage on the tapes - which arrive wrapped in drawings of disturbingly violent images - becomes increasingly personal, and sinister anonymous phone calls are made. Convinced he knows the identity of the person responsible, Georges embarks on a rash and impulsive course of action that throws up some unpleasant facts about his past and leads to shockingly unexpected consequences.
The opening credits roll to a scene of a typically small French town street. Nothing is happening. After a few minutes voices are heard. Discussions are heard apparently between husband and wife. A daringly dull start to a film. The outstandingly good things about this film are the acting and the filming. This is however balanced by a plot that is not well constructed, has several unexplained and irrelevant mysteries, and doesn't end but fades away. The only shocking moment is a totally unrealistic suicide almost amusing in its unbelievablity. There is a moral to this film but it could have been done either more or less shockingly according to taste but pleasing few as it stands. Binoche distracts from this with a magnificent performance again.
Great director and cast and intriguing story-line but I was not entertained by a film raising questions and not providing answers. Audience participation is really required to decide who, why, what, where and when. Novel, but not for me.
Successful middle class, middle aged man loses his stability and certainty as he begins to receive videotapes of himself and his family. Fascinating story about class, surveillance and the guilty legacy of French imperialism plays out like a many layered, very violent thriller.