Monday, February 22, 2016

1009. Cache/Hidden (2005)


Running Time: 117 minutes
Directed By: Michael Haneke
Written By: Michael Haneke
Main Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou, Walid Afkir, Lester Makedonsky
Click here to view the trailer

SHOW YOURSELF!

Watched this like a week and a half ago and am just now getting around to writing up the review. It's all good though, as I've seen Cache twice in the past twelve months - seeing it for the much anticipated first time last February and seeing it again last week, as part of the horror film list I've been working on. What's that you say? A horror film list? Yep. Check it out here.


The opening credits roll over top of a single shot of the home of the Laurent residence. We're not sure what to make of it yet - after all, it's simply the opening credits. However, the credits eventually stop rolling and voices emerge - the voices of Georges Laurent (Auteuil) and his wife, Anne (Binoche). They're watching a videotape - which contains the same shot that we're seeing; the exterior shot of the Laurent residence. We learn quick that someone has filmed the front of the Laurent house and left the videotape on the their front porch. Nothing fancy - just someone simply saying, "I'm watching you". It certainly startles the Laurent's - who keep their son Pierrot (Makedonsky) in the dark about the eerie video cassettes. A few days later - another videotape, more of the same. Then later, yet another videotape - this one being delivered wrapped in paper. On the paper? A drawing of a stick figure face, throwing up blood. This jogs Georges' memory and he begins to have nightmares about a young boy his family nearly adopted when he himself was just a boy - a boy named Majid. The story goes that Majid's parents, who worked for Georges' parents, were killed in the Paris Massacre of '61, which saw hundreds of Algerians lose their lives in the streets of France's capital city. Georges' parents, feeling sorry for the now orphaned boy and an obligation to their loyal, former workers, decide to adopt the boy. This, naturally, sends Georges into a fit of jealousy, who sabotages Majid's adoption. It dawns on Georges that the one sending the tapes is clearly Majid, who after all these years if finally ready to take revenge on Georges for depriving him of a proper upbringing. However, things get a little more complicated - primarily for us, the viewer - when Georges confronts a now adult Majid. Let's just say that a few watches couldn't hurt...

SPOILER ALERT!



When I watched Cache the first time (January 30, 2015, to be exact), I took to Letterboxd to let some thoughts pour out of me. just to get something down on paper so that when I mentally revisited Haneke's 2005 film, I'd have a point of reference. After re-reading it tonight, it's clearly the ramblings of a confused, angry movie goer. Angry because I've been blunt before about my hatred for unresolved films. Leaving the audience to fill in the blanks for you is, in my opinion, just another way of saying, "I couldn't come up with and/or come up with a way to film a proper ending - so we'll leave it open ended. I'll call myself artsy for doing so and you get to decide what happens to the characters, so I don't have to". Someone sitting around a campfire, telling tales, wouldn't all of a sudden stop when it got near the end and say, "okay, you figure out the rest". However, I'm kind of poised to just give Cache a pass. The damn film is so mysterious and so intriguing that just flat out telling us the answers at the end, would somehow be going against the whole aura of the film - the aura being one of deep, dark, secretive mystery. With a film like this, there are no clear cut answers and some of the creepiness of the movie lies in the fact that there may not be a clear suspect.

Let's say, hypothetically, that videotapes of the same sort as Cache, start showing up on your doorstep, tomorrow morning. 1) You'd be freaked out, I'm sure and 2) You'd start theorizing.about who was leaving them. Maybe it was no one important at all? Maybe it was just some random guy with too much time on his hands, who picked a random address out of a hat and said "BINGO, let's mess with someone's head". Sure, that solution really doesn't work here, because you have to factor in the drawings that accompanied some of the tapes. But maybe the drawings were random too and the only conclusions Georges could draw was that they had come from someone whom 1) he saw bleeding from the mouth once and whom 2) he saw decapitate a chicken once. Perhaps the perpetrator was someone hired by Georges' mother. Perhaps Mrs. Laurent got wind of the lies that her son told about little Majid and decided that, as she lay on what was probably her death bed, she'd get one over on her son for telling lies to her. Far fetched, sure - but for all we know, that's the answer.

If you read Roger Ebert's review of the film, he basically flat out says that the answer is that the sender of the tapes is Majid's son and Pierrot working together. Pierrot placing the camera at his home and Majid's son placing the camera at HIS home. But for me, that answer is just too easy and doesn't provide the sort of "knock your socks off" answer that I'd want out of this movie. After watching the movie last year, I theorized that maybe the perpetrator was Georges himself, suffering from split personality disorder and subconsciously forcing himself to deal with the guilt he's always felt over the whole Majid affair. Again, this is a very far fetched solution - but again, it's possible. Another solution I came up with last year was that maybe the perpetrator was Pierre - the best friend of the Laurent's, who clearly had a thing for Anne - a "thing" that Pierrot was clearly in the know about.

Thus ends the guessing game portion of the review...


Otherwise, I really loved this film. Damn, was that a nice house or what? From the wall of books, to the nifty little bread basket - the Laurent home has to be one of my favorite houses in all of cinema. Except, I could never live there because of the whole - someone filmed it and thus, made it creepy. Cast is great too, as Binoche always turns in at least a good performance and while I've never seen Auteuil before, I really dug him here. The character development is also something to behold, as we're not only dealing with the videotape storyline, we're also dealing with the rocky marriage of Georges and Anne, played to perfection by the two leads, all the whole in the midst of this big mystery. There's not just the one facet, but the one, two punch, as we're given something to sink our teeth into, while we're waiting for the next videotape to be delivered.

The poster compares the film to a Hitchcock movie, but I disagree and would have to put Cache into a class of it's own. Never was Hitchcock THIS secretive about his motives, never did he explore voyeurism to such a personal degree and never did he tackle a rocky relationship the way Haneke explores the trust issue between the Laurent couple. While I'm sure Haneke was inspired by Hitch, he certainly is adding his own flavor to the mix. In conclusion, this is one film where I agree with the device not to give us complete, clear cut answers. It just wouldn't be doing it's own plot justice if it spilled all the beans. I'm pretty sure it was Haneke's endgame to make a movie that people could turn over in their heads, try to figure out and beat their brains out over, all the while making something that didn't wholly not make sense. While we're never given the answer, we're given plenty of options on what the answer could be and one REALLY good idea of what the answer probably IS. Big thumbs up for Cache, one that I can see myself enjoying for years to come and cementing Haneke as a favorite director of mine.

RATING: 8.5/10  Some of you may remember that Cache managed to make it into my personal favorites list last June, thus immortalizing it on the walls of my own personal movie theater.

February 22, 2016  10:27pm

4 comments:

  1. Great review! I loved this film too, I saw it last year for the first time. I agree that I also loved that house, minus the whole filming thing. lol

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    1. Thanks Brittani...I really need to do a running list of my favorite houses and apartments in film...

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  2. Andrew .. sorry for not making a reply earlier ... Such a great and well thought out post deserved a better, quicker reply - if, for no other reason, to show it was read and appreciated.
    Thing is, it was quite some time ago that I saw this, and I have to confess I didn't pay it as much attention as it deserved, and consequently didn't get it as well as you have. It has taken me a couple of re-reads of your post to remind me about a lot of the film .. and to fill in some of the gaps.
    So I'm going to apologise both to you for not giving you the decent discussion you and film deserves, and to the film .. One I really should go back and watch again, properly.

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    1. It's definitely one that could do with two watches, whether you remember it or not. I remember when I saw it last year, wanting to rewind and rewatch it again immediately.Definitely lots of theories to be drawn and lots of confusion to be had.

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