The White Ribbon (DVD)

Behind closed doors…

Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon is a lengthy black and white drama set in a small German town in the austere years before World War I. Yet Haneke’s latest is one of his finest works to date. His strength as a filmmaker has always been to focus on the reactions of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, such as in Cache and Funny Games, and this intense character study of villagers besieged by strange events proves mesmerising from the start.

Continue reading

New Town Killers (2008)

We’ll live and die in these towns…

The theme of sadism for kicks has become something of a staple in modern cinema – think Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, for example, or Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy. It seems that it’s no longer enough for protagonists to commit heinous acts out of psychological compulsion or desire for revenge; it’s far more chilling to watch people willingly inflict violence on their fellow man for no other reason than to get their kicks. And, although Richard Jobson’s New Town Killers won’t set the British thriller genre alight, it’s certainly a disturbing viewing experience.

Continue reading