Michael (2011) Movie Review – Fantastic Fest 2011
Stars:Michael Fuith, Christine Kain and David Rauchenberger
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jason
The Lowdown: A serious movie about the life of a pedophile thats hauntingly funny?
Michael, is an average looking white male in his 30′s. What sets him apart is his big secret. He has locked away in his house a 10 yr old boy to keep him company and fulfill his “needs”, when those times arise.
If Markus Schleinzer would have taken an exploitative route the movie could have been an unwatchable filthy mess, instead the script is actually very smart and oddly funny in places. Michael Fuith eerily plays the character note perfect. In some scenes when he’s taking care of the boy, when he’s sick or helping him put together a puzzle, he looks genuinely like a caring father figure. Then scenes when he’s rubbing his crotch telling the boy to come over, or stalking other boys at a kiddie race car track, he’s downright creepy and vile. Also David Rauchenberger as Wolfgang, was also excellent in the film. He didn’t have a whole lot of dialogue but the boys actions and mannerisms seem to fit with someone being abused in this way.
There is no sexual abuse actually shown, it cuts away right before anything happens. Actually the way the movie is edited makes it flow so well and even opens it itself up to some of those awkward funny moments. To me the most memorable scene of the movie is at the dinner table. Michael inappropriately decides to reenact a scene he saw from a porno and Wolfgang has a sad but funny response.
The rest of the film shows how Wolfgang entertains and takes care of himself when Michael’s at work or gone for long amounts of time. You see Michael’s interactions with coworkers and other people he meets. Then it’s those awkward moments between the two characters such as celebrating Christmas, going to the park, or having a snowball fight in the house. There are many more of these type of moments, than ones of abuse, or scenes such as Michael lying to Wolfgang saying his parents don’t want him back. Having it paced this way, makes those negative moments even more powerful.
Even though there are caring moments between the two characters, nothing makes you totally sympathetic for Michael. By the end of the movie you get to see how someone with this pathetic lifestyle not only ruins his own life and the victims, but also family members. To be honest with you one of the most haunting scenes of the movie had nothing to do with Wolfgang, it’s Michael’s response when he has an opportunity to bang a woman that’s thrown herself at him.
It’s really hard to call a movie with this subject matter entertaining, but I think it’s an important movie and one that’s very well done. The last action of Michael is actually kind of ambiguous and can be interpreted in a few different ways. Then the aftermath before the credits roll is a perfect ending to this tragic tale.
Final Rating: 7.75/10
P.S. I looked around after the screening and I didn’t see Victor Salva anywhere around.
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