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"Caché [Hidden]"

Directed by Michael Haneke.
Written by Michael Haneke.
Starring Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Lester Makedonsky and Maurice Bénichou.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  2/5/06


Even though it's got the biggest whoa moment in a flick I've seen this year, the international (French & German, from the looks of it) production "Caché", or "Hidden", ultimately fails to deliver on what I thought was strong initial promise.

TV personality Georges Laurent (Daniel Auteuil), husband of a beautiful arts peddler named Anne (Juliette Binoche) and father of a cute little kid (Lester Makedonsky), gets home one day and finds his wife watching a videotape that's a little disturbing:  it's two hours of footage of a camera trained on the front doorstep of their house, including what looks like both Anne and Georges leaving the house to go to work in the morning.  The videotape, left on their front doorstep, was wrapped in a childlike drawing of a random kid's face drawn with blood spewing out of the kid's mouth.  More of these tapes and accompanying pictures are left on the Laurent doorstep, terrorizing the family and driving Georges to find out just what the fuck is going on.

It is the initial hour of "Caché" that is truly excellent work.  Thanks to the lack of a score and long-running shots of the footage from each videotape, the mood is tense as we try to figure out why somebody is stalking Georges and his family.  Eventually, the tapes get away from showing the family's front door and begin to give us clues of why the tape footage seems to be stalking Georges' past, specifically...and from there, it is the investigation into who's behind this that should make this flick a star.  Instead, it is the answer to these questions--and, the lack of answers, in some cases--that made my buddy Yac, his friend Cameron and I all say "what the fuck is going on here" by the time the thing was all over.

But as a ride, the film is a solid drama with excellent performances by both Auteuil and Binoche.  As an experience, you want to be in a theater when we get our penultimate violent moment in the film--you know somebody's in trouble, but when it happens, whoa, whoa, whoa.  Yac almost lost his shit!  As a visual, "Caché" is awesome, with good-looking shots of interiors, moody shots of dank, rundown hallways and close-ups of characters during emotional duress.  But, the last ten minutes really brought the total package down for me, and to know what I mean, you have to see the dadgum movie.

I'll admit, I was fired up for this one, but I had issue with the flick's script near the end and ultimately think that "Caché" is just so-so.  A STRONG so-so, but you know how that goes!

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09