Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fantastic Fest 2011 Movie Review- MICHAEL- He Said

Directed by: Markus Schleinzer
Written by: Markus Schleinzer
Starring: Michael Fuith, Christine Kain, and David Raunchenberger
Synopsis: The directorial debut of Markus Schleinzer follows a pedophile
 and the boy he keeps in his house.

This is a very weird movie to talk about, review, or even recommend, so with that aspect out of the way  this was a damn good movie that tackles a horrific and disgusting subject matter. But ultimately this is a story about control and how hard it is to keep no matter how hard you try. The story follows the titular Michael as he goes about his daily life. He's just a regular looking balding white dude working at an insurance company living in suburbia. He's well mannered, has friends, and even hooks up with the occasional girl here and there.  But underneath in his soundproof basement, he keeps a young boy in complete isolation. They share meals together, watch TV, and they even go out to the parks. And then he molests him.

This movie had the potential to be a bit ridiculous in its whole the-real-monsters-live-amongst-us-in-suburbia theme. But the execution was what makes this movie interesting.  Let's start with my favorite part, the directing style and cinematography.  Even though the style might be off-putting to some, I enjoyed that the camera rarely moves and the transitions are just hard cuts.  What was so fascinating about this is that there was a lot of the movie you don't actually see. A lot of the action will happen in the scene off camera, or the edits will skip hours or even days.  It's a very disjointed and sterile style of film making that lends itself to the sternly and rigidity of the life that Michael leads.  It's only in the most distressing of times that you see the camera shake or have any resemblance of movement.

What I found really fascinating was that we spent a bulk of the movie seeing Michael and Wolfgang, the boy, doing lots of mundane things.  Once again, this might be a turn off for some people, you know, apart from the whole pedophile aspect of it. There's a lot of nuanced character moments that reveal a great deal of personality that is never specifically stated for Michael and Wolfgang which I found to be fascinating. The movie is overtly long, and there was a good chunk of 15 minutes that might be a little too unnecessary.

Overall, I can't really say MICHAEL is good movie that you need to go check out at your art-house theater because of his subject matter. But if you're wanting to give this movie that gives insight into a particularly taboo subject with great care and precision, a chance.

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