Sunday, September 30, 2007

Well Played, Poster: Funny Games

Speechless. I was, quite literally, speechless upon viewing the newly released poster for Michael Haneke's Americani(z)ed remake of his own Funny Games. I clicked on the thumbnail at IMP and just sat there staring. This poster makes me sad, but in the good way (not in the way that, say, the Hostel Part II posters made me depressed). It perfectly portrays the sense of helplessness and tragedy that is at the heart of Funny Games. If I didn't know the original movie is tragically misguided (in my eyes) then I would be instantly putting this towards the top of my Must See pile.

[click to enlarge Naomi's tear ducts]

As you can see, it is a very simple design, but the way that it has been rendered just makes it so much more than a simple movie-still-used-as-a-poster poster. The way the colours look just ever-so bleached from the image. The darkness throughout Naomi Watts' hair seems as black as midnight and her lips and iris look as if they are losing colour too. As if her will to live is slowly evaporating.

The equally simple, but oh-so effective, streak of tears is what really makes it so powerful. The most powerful moments in the original Funny Games (and by association Funny Games '08, considering it is a shot-for-shot remake) were when the husband and wife who have been taken hostage are by themselves and dealing what has transpired. The image used on this poster destills exactly what Funny Games should have been - an entirely serious tragedy. Alas, I am afraid to say that the movie itself plays way too much like a big gimmicky in-joke and not at all like the desperately soul-crushing experience that this poster promises.

Even the tagline - a line of dialogue from the film - "You must admit, you brought this on yourself" creates an incredible striking image in my mind, the opposite of it's intentions though. Whereas in the movie the line is jokey and as a laugh, but here it feels like a terrifying sinister omen.

One last observation. Does anybody else think this poster reminds them of a Criterion Collection DVD cover? In research for an upcoming thing I'm doing I've happened across many Criterion designs and they're, for the most part, quite excellent and often times better than the original movie poster. But this design is another to rank alongside Bug and American Gangster as one of the year's best posters, even though it is definitely the simplest and the most strikingly ordinary of the bunch, but that doesn't matter one iota. It's amazing how the simple image used on this poster can evoke so much more than a million crazy busy overflowing posters. And it could have been so very easy for the designers to fall into the trap of the empty space and merely had Naomi in the bottom right hand corner while the rest of the poster was filled with black empty nothingness. They actually utilised the space they have and, obviously I think, it has worked to their immense advantage.

...I still doubt I'll see the movie though because I had such an adverse reaction to the original and there's no reason to believe this one will be any different. Shame, really.

To see more of this series simply click the "Well Played Poster" tag below.