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Caché
DVD disk
Jul 11, 2006 By: Jason Adams
Caché order
Director:
Michael Haneke

Actors:
Daniel Auteuil
Juliette Binoche
Maurice Bénichou

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A husband and wife begin receiving strange videotapes on their doorstep, each filled with hours of surveillance footage of their house. As their anxiety grows with each new tape, secrets from the past are unveiled and their domestic bliss slowly unravels.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Anytime a thriller comes along that doesn’t suck outright, the hip thing to do is to immediately start making comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock. (As much as you may love M. Night Shyamalan, he nor anyone else comes close to the real master of suspense.) CACHÉ had that kind of buzz surrounding it (and says so on the DVD cover), and while it’s an intelligent, sometimes shocking drama, it doesn’t achieve “Hitchcockian” levels of greatness.

After the first half hour I could see why CACHÉ (or HIDDEN, for those of you who don’t parlez Français) had that high praise attached to it. Like REAR WINDOW, it’s a film about voyeurism and the allure of watching, with a subtle social/political subtext behind it. It also has that same old-school sense of foreboding and uneasy calm, a surefire way to up the tension. Director Haneke employs a clever visual strategy, using mostly statically-placed cameras, so oftentimes you can’t tell the difference between the surveillance footage and the film itself. Up to this point, everything was gravy.

The main problem for me is that none of this setup pays off, because CACHÉ really doesn’t go anywhere. There are some genuine moments of great suspense, but nothing builds up as a whole. In fact, ignore the blurbs on the cover; CACHÉ is more family drama than it is cuticle-nibbling thriller. It’s surprisingly grounded in realism, which is great—save for the fact that it kills the pace/effectiveness of the film. When I say that the characters approach situations like real people, I mean that they sit and argue about their marriage for 10 minutes at a time. The result is the intriguing mystery that drives the first part of the movie takes a backseat to the couple’s personal problems. That’s not completely a bad thing, as the actors (especially a still smokin’ Binoche) do a fine job at presenting a compelling human drama. It’s just not where you expect CACHÉ to go.

(While I didn’t find the resolution as satisfying as I’d hoped, make sure you pay über-close attention to the last shot. It’s one of those endings that will stir up discussion amongst friends or make you immediately rush to the IMDB boards.)
THE EXTRAS
Two quality extras > Many crappy extras.

Behind the Scenes of CACHÉ (31:37): A typical “making of” feature, with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. All the critical raves describe the director with phrases like the “new master of suspense,” so I was expecting some fresh-faced, young filmmaker, but Haneke is actually over 60 years old.

Interview with Director Michael Haneke (25:25): Haneke has talent and experience, both of which come across in the film and in this interview. It’s thankfully not your usual promotional fluff piece, but really gets into the depths of the movie—the themes, cross-cultural implications, and why Haneke knows exactly what happens in the end (but he’s not telling).

And a buttload of Trailers from Sony Pictures Classics
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is not something you typically see film critics complain about, but for once there was too much characterization in a movie. CACHÉ was sold to me as a “psychological thriller,” but mostly ended up being more like the emotional drama that comes after a typical suspense movie. It’s a good film, if not a misleading one. But still definitely not Hitchcock.
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