From the Chicago Reader (April 2, 2004). — J.R.
People seem divided by the second film (1992) in Michael Haneke’s deadpan, low-key Austrian trilogy (after The Seventh Continent, before 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance), about affectless contemporary violence. Some consider it an essential document of our time, while others (myself included) regard it as a letdown after its predecessor — overly familiar in its themes, though still somewhat potent in its depiction of an alienated 14-year-old boy from a well-to-do family who’s preoccupied with video technology and winds up committing a monstrous act. In some ways, the portrait of his parents is even more chilling. In German with subtitles. 105 min. (JR)