"Cache": DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review (2005)

12/22/2009 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review


Directed by Michael Haneke, Written by Haneke, 117 minutes, Rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

It is human nature to bury our mistakes, crimes, regrets and sorrows deep inside. They build and build until either we can't take it any longer and let them out, or we go mad. Sometimes, it takes a little push to let our secrets out.

Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche are Georges and Anne Laurent, a well-to-do couple with a son, a nice home and what appears to be a sincerely happy life. One day, a package is left on their doorstep. Inside is a videotape, on which is a video of the front of their house. Unbeknownst to them, they have been under surveillance. They didn't notice the camera, nor did anyone else.

More tapes arrive of that same static shot of their house, watching hour after hour. Obviously, a great deal of unease comes upon the couple. Things that they promised themselves not to tell each other start pouring out, and a childhood secret of Georges nearly tears the two apart. Perhaps this happy family wasn't so happy after all, and these videotapes give them the impetus to finally admit it.

But who's watching them--and why?

That simple question makes up the mystery of "Cache," the Hitchockian mystery-thriller from "Funny Games" director Michael Haneke. Anyone familiar with Haneke, though, knows it could never be so simple. "Funny Games" disguised itself as a thriller in order to test the audience's patience. It mocked the viewer and instigated them by completely shattering horror conventions and, in essence, breaking the rules of cinema. It made the audiences accomplices in the crime.

Haneke similarly uses "Cache" as a mirror held up to his audience, but in a different way. He uses long, static shots, showing little action and forcing the viewer to watch the raw emotion of its characters and to see things films rarely show. It makes us voyeurs in a film where voyeurism is the antagonist. One specific scene, which serves as a major turning point in the film and which it would be a crime to spoil, is one of the most shocking and tense moments I've ever seen in a film, and it's so blatantly intimate that making us watch it is Haneke's ultimate means of making us, the audience, an antagonist.

Haneke's ultimate themes aside, "Cache" works extraordinarily well as a mystery and as a thriller. It works splendidly at the gut level, creating an unmatched sense of tension and dread, and his characters are well-developed and interesting. It sometimes seems as if Haneke makes thrillers disguised as art films disguised as thrillers--yes, they taunt and test the audience, and they have important things to say, but they succeed predominately at the most basic emotional level.

As with "Funny Games," "Cache" is a technical marvel. Haneke is an astounding director and not a single frame seems out of place or sloppily constructed. He also shows an uncanny understanding of how his imagery relates to the viewer's subconscious interpretation of the material, which is probably why he so effectively angers people half the time.

Overall, Haneke has made a brilliant film, and his ability to build tension simply through character and the most basic cinematography is a testament to his incredible skill as a filmmaker. "Cache" is one of the best films of the decade.

Grade: A

View the trailer for "Cache" below.  Thoughts?

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