Michael Fuith

Editor’s note: This review was originally published as part of our Fantastic Fest 2011 coverage on October 11, 2011. But since most of you have not yet had the chance to watch the devil himself practice good dental hygiene (and because the film is hitting limited theaters this Friday, February 17), we’re re-posting it here for your…enjoyment? Masterpieces tend to be weighty. They tend to aggravate and enthrall both during the runtime and once the credits have rolled. They tend to have a heft that makes them difficult to carry even though they demand to live in your gut for months or years afterward. On that front, and on many others, Michael defies the rules and expectations by being a shockingly breezy masterwork. Make that a shockingly breezy masterwork about a pedophile with a young boy locked in his basement. Writer/director Markus Schleinzer has created a film that shoves all of the horrifying elements into your imagination without ever delivering the goods visually. It’s an incredible feat that makes its mark from the opening scene where our villain returns his dumpy self to his dumpy home and visits the cub scout he keeps locked away. They eat dinner, they watch a little television, and the scene cuts to a shot so suggestive post-act that it makes everything far, far too clear for comfort. This is the primary technique of the rougher segments of the movie, and it works with a stark skill that streamlines the nightmare. Michael Fuith commands the […]

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Cannes often courts controversy, and with potentially volatile films centered on a Child Protection Unit, and one on the Pope already screened, this year looks to be no different. Add to this the inclusion of Michael, a film that explores the relationship between a pedophile and his ten-year-old victim. Man alive that’s a change of direction from this morning’s show-case of Pirates of the Caribbean! That very brief synopsis may sound pretty despicable, and I have to admit I wrestled with why I would want to go and see it, but at the end of the day, I idolize good filmmaking, and who am I to judge how a director chooses to express his skill? The most difficult aspect is that it is impossible to resist comparisons with the harrowing real-life story of Austrian Natasha Kampusch, though thankfully director Markus Schleinzer (famously Michael Haneke’s casting director of choice) has chosen a far more tactful approach than presenting an obscene and intentionally controversial style.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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