The White Ribbon (2009)
After all the awards and hype, I’m left fairly unmoved. I think I’m just not a fan of the director; I disliked Funny Games, disliked The Piano Teacher, and think Cache is vastly overrated. Michael Haneke is just not for me, and The White Ribbon is further proof of this fact. This is two and half-hours of incidents. Supposedly, since its victory at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, this movie was dubbed as a case study examining the beginnings of antisemitism as a small German town undergoes a series of mysterious violent assaults and vandalism. I don’t know how in the world this explores any sort of psychological group think to later clarify Germany’s willingness to accept Hitler’s demands. All this movie does is show yet another example of teenagers rebelling. In typical Haneke fashion, characters can be unbelievably cruel to one another at the flick of a switch. Nothing really adds up and the pacing is so mind-numbingly deliberate to showcase the world of pre-World War I Germany. So when people leave the room we watch them walk off screen, hear their off screen noises, then they return and go off screen again and we can repeat the same jolly waiting game. I understand the artistic thought behind it, but I’d be much more forgiving if Haneke had developed a story and some characters worthy to wait for. This is a plodding and conceited exercise that reveals next to nothing about the human condition for cruelty, because, chiefly, you don’t really believe that these people exist nor do you care.
Nate’s Grade: C