Saturday, February 17, 2007

Is There a Punchline Hidden Here?

Variety reports that Ron Howard may be remaking Michael Haneke's "Caché," my favorite film of 2005.

"Universal version, to be set in the U.S., is expected to amp up the suspense and consequences."

Bravo. Because death, broken lives and lifelong psychological torment just isn't enough in the good ol' USA. Now we can finally have the film Haneke had the balls not to make!

(Thanks to Chris Bellamy for the tip.)

4 comments:

Chris Bellamy said...

First of all, bravo for getting the word 'hidden' into the title of the post. (For those that don't know: "Hidden" is the English title of the movie.)

And secondly, yes, bravo to Universal. Maybe this was bound to happen, but "amping up the suspense and consequences" means the point and purpose of the movie will be completely different in the U.S. version. The ambiguity and the very lack of concrete answers or action - with the exception of that one scene - serve the purpose of the film. It is not about actual things being done TO the characters, but the perceived violation by the simple fact that they are being watched. "Cache" takes the videotapes at face value and allows the characters to reveal themselves - and so the film can effortlessly explore its psychological and sociopolitical themes.

I reject the implication from Universal's statement that there will be "more consequences" in the new version. Because there are, in fact, MAJOR consequences - most of them aren't action-oriented, but emotional and psychological. I guess my assumption based on that report is that the remake will be just another suspense film with an inevitable action-packed payoff. Bullshit.

While I'm wary of remakes in general, a good idea is a good idea, and there have been plenty of good films based on films from other countries ("A Fistful of Dollars," "The Departed," "The Magnificent Seven," etc). But, when so much of what made "Cache" significant will be changed (not to mention how the new version won't be able to use the original's historical perspective as a catalyst for the film's exploration of guilt), why can't they just think up a plot for their own damn suspense movie?

But take heart, Jeremy: It's not a sealed deal just yet. The same thing happened with MY No. 1 movie of 2005, "Oldboy," and now that remake looks dead in the water. Thank God.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Howard will choose Tom Hanks to star? He's already dealt w/ the consequences of the greatest mystery of mankind, so he seems like a good pick, especially if there are clues that can only be read in a mirror.

Chris Bellamy said...

Tom: "If I rearrange the letters, it spells another word."

Audrey: "An anagram!"

Tom: "Um...yes. Good thing you're not talking down to your audience or anything."

Janean said...

I sure wish your Oscar predictions were online. What is the problem with that publication you write for??