Monday, February 15, 2016

Hidden / No 9 best crime film of all time

Hidden: No 9 best crime film of all time

Michael Haneke, 2005

Killian Fox
Sunday 17 October 2010 11.47 BST

idely regarded as one of the finest films of the last decade, as well as Haneke's masterpiece, Hidden opens with a long, static shot of a house on a quiet Paris street. Credits roll. Very little happens. A closer shot shows a couple leaving the house, and the camera pans after the man. We hear a terse interchange. On screen, the film fast-forwards and suddenly – unnervingly – we realise we have been watching a piece of surveillance on video. The tape has turned up, without explanation, at the house of the couple we saw on screen, and they are watching it with us. They are Georges (Daniel Auteuil), a well-known TV intellectual, and his wife Anne (Juliette Binoche), a book publisher. The video is immediately interpreted as a threat. More tapes arrive, along with crayon drawings depicting scenes of bloody violence. The effect of these intrusions is singularly disturbing, and Hidden unfolds with the fearful air of a thriller, but it avoids most of the conventions of the genre. Dramatic music is absent. The one truly shocking moment of violence arrives without a suspenseful build-up, and the victim is who we least expect it to be.

One tape leads Georges to the run-down apartment of an Algerian man named Majid, who Georges knew as a child. It transpires that Georges bears responsibility for how this man's life has turned out, and his guilt points to the more widespread malaise in French society concerning the Algerian war. The film interrogates western attitudes towards the Muslim world, exposing how fear is also based on guilt and repressed memories. The political subtext never detracts from the film's chilling dramatic effect and the air of intrigue, which intensifies in the very final scene.

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