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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.3%
Average: 5.26%
Pretty Bad: 15.79%
Total Crap: 8.77%

5 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Cache (Hidden)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Pause And Effect"
5 stars

'Caché [Hidden]' offers no easy answers. This is something I must make perfectly clear. If you desire a clean-cut conclusion, look elsewhere. If you desire a challenge, grab some friends and pay close attention. This film is a demanding one, and although it lacks a fixed finale, it remains a worthwhile experience. Talk may be cheap, but considering the amount of discussion 'Caché' generates, the price of admission is quite the bargain.

Literary critic Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and book publisher Anne (Juliette Binoche) receive an anonymous tape upon their doorstep, one that shows only a lingering stationary shot of their residence. Who sent it? Could it be a prank by their teenage son, Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky), or one of his friends? How did Georges not see the camera if he had walked right past it? Why would anyone be filming their house in the first place? Another tape soon arrives, accompanied this time by a childish drawing. Neither authority nor technology can help Georges and Anne, who are increasingly unnerved by their voyeur. Then, a third tape changes its location, and with that simple shift, the purpose – and possibly the culprit – behind the tapes slowly begins to reveal itself.

Writer/director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher, Funny Games) employs high-definition video technology to create the tapes, so that when they are being shown, the viewer is unaware until someone pushes rewind or stop. Eventually, it becomes difficult to discern what’s being shot, what’s being shown, and what’s actually taking place. Haneke lays all the clues out in plain sight, which is what makes Caché out of sight: he makes the audience a simultaneous villain and victim in the storyline. Even though we are taking in the situation as the couple is, we are also watching them, making the viewer as much of a perpetrator as the mysterious stalker.

Haneke crafts the suspense with meticulous detail and menacing direction. No shot goes longer than it needs to, and there is no score to provide a false sense of danger. As a matter of fact, the audio in certain scenes turns out to be as important as the video. The couple’s house doesn’t feel like a Parisian neighborhood, but more like a self-contained reality, a view of their world through a different kind of wide-angle lens. The lead actors do a remarkable job of selling the increasing fear that would come with the situation, particularly with Binoche’s Anne becoming more and more concerned about the whereabouts of her son and the trust of her husband. However, it is Auteuil’s crucial and compelling performance as a man refusing to take responsibility for his actions that drives the film’s points home, one of which being a striking metaphor for France’s shady history with the people of Algeria.

The reason Caché is so maddening is its relentless ambiguity. The plot is practically the opposite of airtight, with possibilities and metaphors abound, crafted seamlessly though it contains many holes. However, the circumstances of the situation is what makes the film truly enthralling. As every scene takes place, it is impossible to be uninterested in what or who resides just outside the frame, or why someone would continue to invade this family’s comfort zone via VHS. At one point, there is a genuine surprise, one made all the more shocking by its context. Without editing or panning or any other technique to distract, one cannot help but bear witness to the incident and be as sincerely disturbed as the characters are.

Several people have the motives and potential to be sending the tapes, whether primary characters or select strangers in the background, but Haneke never determines a final culprit. Then again, nothing rules out the director himself for being responsible. Maybe Haneke is breaking through the fourth wall from this side, placing the candid camera and subsequent footage wherever he sees fit in order to advance his own story. That theory may be a bit meta for some tastes, but it would be foolish to dismiss it all the same. Considering how indefinite every other narrative thread is, nothing – and no one – can be entirely ruled out from responsibility, not even the filmmaker, which ultimately leaves Haneke in remote control over the audience’s perception.

When Georges finishes recording an episode of his literary talk show, the producer reminds him and his guests to remain seated through the end credits. This is a rather valuable piece of advice for the audience, as the last lingering shot of an emptying school contains a subtle revelation that is quite easy to overlook. The moment isn’t a twist in the traditional sense, and Haneke refuses to offer any degree of true catharsis from the scene. However, as the final frames of 'Caché' unfurl, what had long been simmering finally boils over, and every underwhelming moment transforms into an overwhelming amount of possibility concerning the preceding events. With a single shot, the line is drawn between what you see and what you get, and from there, it is near impossible to NOT get caught on tape.

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originally posted: 02/21/06 22:39:44
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User Comments

2/22/10 Langano Brilliant. Sticks with you well after you leave the theatre. 5 stars
1/17/08 Charles Tatum Maddeningly ambiguous, but still a chiller 4 stars
11/06/07 Dennis Szilak At the end, you can forget what u've done 5 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Um, no, this flick has very realistic metaphorical implications! 4 stars
8/05/07 Ole Man Bourbon It was entertaining, but the allegorical implications seemed preposterous. 4 stars
7/24/07 Robert Z. There is such a thing as being too mysterious. The "payoff" is hardly that. fuck this film 1 stars
7/12/07 LaLa I sat there waiting for something to happen, and before I knew it the credits were rolling! 3 stars
2/27/07 MP Bartley A real head fuck. Hitchcock climbs into bed with David Lynch and shares a nightmare. 4 stars
2/03/07 kris Original, sophisticated and demanding film. 4 stars
9/23/06 Joseph Excellent film, unique idea 4 stars
8/07/06 Mike Hypnotizing but for what? 3 stars
8/03/06 Yuri Wasted my time watching it. 1 stars
8/01/06 Mike Litoris read a few reviews before viewing-get a clue 4 stars
6/24/06 Jan Willis Disappointing given the advance hype 3 stars
5/29/06 Spixie Completely disapointing - intellectual rumination - what social conscience? 1 stars
5/16/06 john bale Clever but exasperatingly obscure, but great acting in this dreamy pyscho thriller 4 stars
4/29/06 jcjs slow, drags, ok acting, lacking, not sure what the deal is, disappointment.Juliet fine etc 2 stars
4/16/06 Hanni Rosenzweig Great, interesting, disturbing 5 stars
4/09/06 Evan very baffling film 4 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar Incomprehensible. Pretentious. Emperor's New Clothes? 2 stars
3/05/06 Ruth Ann Gazaille Very, very slow 2 stars
2/18/06 MITCHELL BELGIN Excellent review, but missed the subplot of a possible affair going on by the wife(Binoche) 5 stars
2/13/06 Anus YAWN 1 stars
1/31/06 Ann Wow,just saw it and feel quite creeped out. It's a film that requires some thought . 4 stars
1/07/06 Paul I will stop trusting your reviews. This movie is garbage. Whad did YOU do when you were 6? 1 stars
10/20/05 Donny B. The most relevant Haneke film yet - thrilling, subtle social commentary on terrorism 5 stars
9/18/05 denny interesting technique; don't be frustrated by ending; think about it 4 stars
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  23-Dec-2005 (R)
  DVD: 27-Jun-2006



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