Caché - Not Hidden Enough
| Caché has received a great deal of positive attention and praise lately, winning many raves and awards along its festival path. However there is something unsettling about Caché and not the kind of unsettling I like when I go to the cinema.
Caché starts out really cool. Its premise is a spooky one. Video tapes arrive at the doorstep of a middle aged couple with a pubescent son. When they watch the tapes they are disturbed by the fact that someone has been taping their home. It's a quietly terrifying idea, especially in this age of terror and homeland "security." However the film isn't interested in scaring its audience. Instead this film is about guilt.
The premise behind Caché was done with much more chilling effect by David Lynch in his underrated 1997 film Lost Highway. But director Haneke doesn't bother with fears, instead focusing on blame and shame.
Caché has probably struck a chord in France and in the rest of Europe due to the way it deals with the guilt a post-colonial power, such as France, suffers due to their history and their present. The recent riots in that country make this film even more timely. However, despite the relevance of the film's subject, its manner of execution is sloppy and somewhat forced. Therefore does Caché work as a film or just as social commentary?
I love a good message movie, especially one that gets under the roots of our basic assumptions and tears apart the lies we tell each other. Caché does that but it does so in a manner that isn't quite as intelligent as its message. The plot hangs together thinly, not really keeping the audience on the edge of its seats. Also Caché relies on too many easy coincidences or leaps of faith to keep us convinced. In the end, it's hard not to roll your eyes at the way everything plays out.
While it deals with some interesting ideas, the film doesn't entertain enough to make those ideas come to fruition. It's like the opposite of Haggis' Crash, another 2005 message movie that is overrated. Caché is too many complicated ideas in a weak story while Crash is too many weak ideas in a complicated story. Too bad they couldn't have got together and made one good movie instead of two half-assed films.