Michael

"Excellent"

Michael Review


This story of a pedophile kidnapper is told in such a matter-of-fact way that it chills us to the bone. It's so impeccably shot and acted that it continually elicits our sympathies in ways we really don't want it to.

Michael (Fuith) is a nerdy insurance office worker who's hoping for a promotion. Privately, he keeps to himself, spinning stories to maintain some distance from his colleagues and family. But he has a very dark secret: there's a young boy (Rauchenberger) locked in his basement. In between unseen sexual assaults, Michael tries to create a normal home life for Wolfgang, cooking dinner, watching TV and taking him on outings. But Wolfgang grows increasingly annoyed at his imprisonment. Then one day Michael's hit by a car and wakes up in hospital.

This is only the first event that changes the dynamic between the man and child, as both are emboldened by their time apart. But this isn't a film about plot or action: it's about the mundane details of this horrifying situation, focussing on the loneliness both characters endure for very different reasons.

The sexual abuse is only hinted at, sometimes with shocking force, but even this is presented as an element in the power struggle between the two. As horrific as the situation is, writer-director Schleinzer refuses to sensationalise it.

And this stark sense of realism quietly erodes our own confidence as viewers.

Especially when we begin to understand Michael's dark impulses and self-doubt, or when we see glimpses of the startlingly cheerful, needy boy in him. With Wolfgang, it's the opposite, as we watch the defiance grow inside him, standing up verbally and then physically to Michael. And both actors give beautifully understated performances.

Through all of this, writer-director Schleinzer forces us to make the logical leaps in the story; by dropping hints and foreshadowing future twists of fate, we begin to think like both Michael and Wolfgang. Normality takes on a different meaning for these two characters. And the film's most haunting element is in the final act, as Michael's friends and family so understandably fail to see what's really been going on all this time.



Michael

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 25th December 1996

Distributed by: WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Markus Schleinzer

Producer: Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Markus Glaser, Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer

Starring: as Michael, as Wolfgang, Christine Kain as Mother, Ursula Strauss as Sister, Victor Tremmel as Brother in law, Xaver Winkler as Nephew 1, Thomas Pfalzmann as Nephew 2, Markus Hochholdinger as Kollege Kantine, Mika Sakurai as Tochter, Gisella Salcher as Christa

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.