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Hidden (Caché) (2005)

  Directed by: Michael Haneke
Written by: Michael Haneke
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche
Links: Hidden on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Some things are meant to remain hidden" - a review by pearly

I was enthralled by Hidden, up until the very end. Perhaps it makes me the most mainstream of movie-goers to expect a film with an ending, but the ending of this film did leave me a little unsatisfied. Having said that, it really suited the style of the film, and I can understand why the film ended in the way that it did. But I can't pretend that I didn't want something more.

Hidden is a suspense or thriller, but it's the most laid back of suspenseful movies that I've ever seen. There's a fascinating blend of every day monotony mixed with the occasional bizarre, often quite worrying, and briefly quite gruesome. This blend makes the overall feel of the film quite unique, in that it provides edge of your seat entertainment that, when you take a step back, is actually (for the most part) quite harmless. I found this to be very interesting.

The premise for the film is that a seemingly regular family becomes the subject of hidden surveillance cameras which record different spots, and the video cassettes of these recordings are left for the family to find. The recordings contain hours of footage each, and begin by focusing on the exterior of the family's home. There is nothing untoward on the tapes, just the general hustle and bustle of the street, punctured occasionally with footage of different members of the family coming or going from the home. Initially, the matriach (Juliette Binoche) and patriach (Juliette Binoche) dismiss the whole thing as prank, possibly being played by one of their son's friends.

But as time goes on, and more tapes begin to appear, and of just as innocent locations and events to a stranger, but more intimate to the family itself, and in particular, to Georges (Auteuil), the whole thing begins to freak out both him and wife Anne, and they start trying to figure out who is behind the tapes.

Hidden's charm is in the uniqueness of the way that the story is told, as well as the brilliant performances from both of its leads. It messes with convention, beginning with a long scene simply containing a shot of a French street (which, we realise later, is actually part of the video that's been sent to the family), having climaxes in odd locations, and settling back into monotony to keep you on your toes. It feels like a suspense film, but, for the most part, it isn't. It is, in this way, quite clever. Its structure definitely leads to you wanting to find out more about what's behind these odd goings-on. Could it be that the tapes are the work of a fan of Georges, who is the host of his own television program? Or is it something more personal and sinister?

The conclusion, whilst ambiguous, is not really the point of the film. The idea is, I think, to make up your own conclusion, or to determine what you feel is the right outcome given all you have learnt during the course of the film. Despite the sense of open-endedness, which bothered me immediately upon the film's end, Hidden is a thinker, and will have you mulling over its contents, trying to figure them out for yourself. Bring your strongest stomach, though.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 22 Jul 2005

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