Michael Haneke (Director), Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Lester Makedonsky
The Premise: A couple in France receives several anonymous packages (deliveries, not man junk) containing only surveillance tapes of their home, and childishly violent crayon drawings. This vaguely threatening and distinctly invasive routine becomes an irritant in the family’s life, causing old guilt to resurface, tensions to flare, and paranoia to taint the everyday. A chicken dies.
Georges knew his collection would never again be complete… someone had taped over Chicks With Dicks In Them, Volume 45.
Is it Good: Yep, but if you’re the type who often declares that a film’s first job is to “entertain,” than stay the fuck away from Haneke. Cache comes from a filmmaker whose stock-in-trade is cinematic experiences and examinations rather than stories and conclusivity, and who couldn’t give less of a shit if you’re entertained. What’s important is whether a film like Cache engages, and that it does in spades.
^ Sucks at playing doctor.
Despite an extremely measured overall pace and being peppered with half a dozen shots that hold on a still, unchanging image for several minutes, Cache is structured like a thriller. But, by maintaining a narrative that appears to be searching for answers, Haneke subtly allows his film to take on the more important task of exploring how the questions affect the characters. Guilt is a driving force in Cache, and it is the endless reflections, diffusions, and origins of guilt that you soak in as a viewer. It certainly pays off when the penultimate shot of the film forces you to watch an event that, while only vaguely sad or unpleasant out of context, becomes a time bomb of discomfort and emotion when viewed as the conclusion of the whole experience.
Turn around kid, the real show is starting to your right.
Is it Worth a Look: For sure. If you can buy what Haneke is selling, it’s a ride. The driving question of the film ranks right on up there with Marsellus’ briefcase among the unanswerable but inexplicably captivating film McGuffins. Even Ebert has dedicated time to deciphering the answer to the “whodunnit?” of Cache. It’s clear though, that Haneke has intentionally included contradictory evidence that makes a definitive answer impossible.*
Random Anecdotes: Not much of an anecdote, but I will say that I’ll be writing much more about this one in the foreseeable future.
Cinematic Soulmates: Funny Games, Funny Games, The White Ribbon, The Conversation (sure, why not?)
*Frankly, I have the most fun theorizing that Haneke himself dunnit, as Director/God.