****/**** Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Bénichou, Annie Girardot
written and directed by Michael Haneke
by Walter Chaw Gone uncommented-upon in greater detail, a glimmer of hope does exist in Michael Haneke's difficult Funny Games, the scabrous Austrian auteur's last picture that dealt with a brutal home invasion. Therein, the victims overcome their tormentors and are well on their way to freedom when Haneke inserts himself as the capricious godhead of his own piece (indeed, a director is never anything else) and rewinds the film like videotape, providing a different eventuality for his players. It's a move as audacious and wry as anything in Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (and as existentially devastating as anything in Pirandello), something that's earned Haneke his reputation for uncompromising--some would say sadistic (or intellectually austere)--morality plays about apocalypses proximate and ultimate.