The White Ribbon



I have seen Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon 2x now. It is an infuriatingly frustrating and brilliant account of how evil emerges and how it comes from a root or a seed from within a society. It goes at a comatose pace and has a dragging atmosphere to it that prevents its reign amongst the years best pictures. It takes place in pre-WWI Germany as a remote village is victim of numerous unforeseen violence. Haneke decides to not tell us whom has actually done the bad deeds- or if it was more than one person. His goal is instead to show us that any of they villagers were capable of such criminal activities- especially the children whom are treated in such disciplinary ways that there's a hint that Nazism isn't far from their future.

This is definitely not a family night out kind of flick or THE feel good story of the week. Haneke -auteur of the brilliant Cache- isn't in the same league as that previous movie, this is a love it or hate it type of movie, yet I fall right down the middle of the debate. The acting and mood are setup in a phenomenal matter yet what distinguished his previous movies was the mysterious dramatic tension that escalated between his characters. There is not much tension on here, it's a sprawling movie, filled with 30+ characters and they don't all get their fully fleshed out due. You come out of The White Ribbon feeling pummeled by the narrative ambition of Haneke's work. I'll take a dozen of these movies any day, instead of another Hollywood hack story. The call on this movie is still to be determined but the currency says it's a Sprawling Ambitious Mess.
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