Meticulous, brutal, hypnotic and hilarious
- The Seventh Continent review by RJ
I first watched this about a year ago having bought a box set of 10 Michael Haneke films on an impulse and I did not enjoy it at all. I think I found it too cold, too clinical, too repetitive. However, unlike the majority of films which I can barely remember a week after I have watched them, this one really lodged in my brain and lingered there for a long time, so I had been waiting for an opportunity to revisit it. On second viewing my reaction could hardly have been more different - I absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved everything I had disliked about it the first time.
The premise of the film is extremely simple. A middle class family become disillusioned with the emptiness of their lives and decide to systematically destroy all of their possessions before committing suicide. Obviously this is neither the first nor the last film to explore the alienation of modern life and the self-destructive urges which lie beneath the surface of bourgeois life, but what I loved about this film was its patient dedication to the clinical, meticulous depiction of the lifeless, repetitive activities of the family. The subsequent mission of self-destruction they embark upon is depicted in the same forensic manner. It is painstakingly and brilliantly edited.
It won't be for everyone, and if you are someone who has never felt alienated or considered what lurks beneath society's veneer of politeness then I have no idea what you might make of it. It is a harsh and brutal film, but it is also full of gallows humour - I laughed out loud quite a few times. A simple idea but perfectly executed - highly recommended.
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