Labeling director Michael Haneke’s sophomore effort “shocking” or “chilling” feels reductive. Haneke’s story of a young teen with an obsessive penchant for violent video proffers a detached—but not dispassionate—look into an abyss.
I’ll divulge no more details. Knowing too much muted an early plot point’s impact for me. Don’t make the same mistake. Avoid the synopsis Criterion and the IMDb offer. Just watch it.
But be prepared. The scene where the teen’s parents discuss his situation drained me. As they talked, I felt a weight on my chest. Light at first, it grew heavier as the scene played out until it dropped from my chest into my stomach. Turns out this was Haneke, like an expert boxer, working the body to set up the knockout punch.