I wanted you to be present...

Cache is a recent film by Michael Haneke about a French family being tormented by videotapes sent to their house of their house, almost innocuously seen, as they exit and enter and go about their business. It’s an eerie concept, as the obvious question is, what would you do if this situation were to happen to you? The film doesn’t go that route, though, and is more interested with what happens to its lead couple, played by Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche in equal parts subtlety and ferocity, which makes for compelling viewing.

The film is shot very starkly, almost square-like, with each shot being in its proper place and in its proper alignment. This creates a sort of window effect, to which we the audience appear to be looking into the world and home of the characters. It’s a very objective film, passive and stoic in its presentation. This only seems to enhance the mystery surrounding the tapes and who’s sending them, which rather than occupy most of the film takes a backseat to the other events that happen to the couple either with or as a result of the tapes. Haneke likes to linger on shots that would otherwise cut to the chase, and besides extending the running time it offers moments of contemplation about the film and the characters, which becomes essential material as the film goes on and more happens that warrants consideration; I won’t spoil any of it, but I was completely taken aback by some moments in the film, and it was thanks to the film’s mood that it was a good thing.

Ultimately, it’s not important who sent the tapes; what’s important to the film is how this affects the characters both in the present time and in their pasts, which rears its head in the case of the male lead. The ending will definitely leave you scratching your head wondering what kind of a resolution the film pulls, but surprisingly I can’t say that it cheapened the experience; the film itself stands well enough on its own. Don’t take this as a whodunit mystery over who sent the tapes and why; it is a contemplative study of a family through minute crises under pressure. As long as you don’t go into it expecting something you won’t end up getting, I think you’ll like the style of this one just fine, if you’re in the mood for this sort of thing.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10


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