|Scooped by James Glynn|
Unnerving psychological thriller that succeeds in actively engaging the audience.
Michael Haneke's creepy, at times shocking, 2005 thriller demonstrates the Austrian director's ability to create an atmosphere that unsettle his audience through the sheer power of suggestion. The director of provocative art house flicks like 'Funny Games' and last year's Palm D'or winner 'Amour', Haneke is not one to shy away from controversial topics in his films, but in 'Hidden' he approaches a relatively familiar subject from a unique angle. Set in an opulent Parisien suburb the film centres on Georges and Anne Laurent, (played by Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche respectively), who find themselves caught up in a menacing web of intrigue when they begin to receive annonymous recorded videos surveying the outside of their home. Unaided by the police, Georges, a successful literary TV critic, and his wife become increasingly paranoid and begin to fear for the life of their teenage son as the videos, accompanied by some disturbing children's drawings, start to arrive more regularly and become alarmingly more personal. After a tape surveying the house he grew up in arrives, Georges begins to suspect that the perpetrator may be someone from his past and seeks out to find Majid, an Algerian immigrant once close to his family whom he wronged as a child. However, Georges' reacquaintence with Majid only proves to open up past wounds and with his family's fearful ordeal only escalating, his obsession against his former childhood friend begins to grows resulting in a harrowing reailty for he and his family.
Brilliantly tense with an eerie, foreboding atmosphere throughout, 'Hidden' is a perfectly restrained thriller that leaves much to the audience's imagination. Employing an uncomplicated premise and without resorting to clichéd plot twists or scenes of explicit violence, Haneke manages to conceive a supremely sinister psychological chiller in a highly voyeuristic fashion that is both engaging and unsettling in equal measure. Understated performances from Auteuil and Binoche as the terrorised bourgeois couple add to the film's dramatic tension, but it's the obtrusive air of menace, together with some disturbing imagery and invasive camera work that really succeed in creating this brilliantly atmospheric, intensely cerebral thriller that has a daunting effect on the audience long after the credits role.
VERDICT 4 out of 5