Cache Review

Cache. Or literally taken, hidden. Upon the careful viewing and the battling of my own confusion with the storyline (and resolve) of this film, I've come across, even after careful research, few answers. And looking back at the title, however, I should be far from surprised! Quite a bit of this film is hidden, from the literal sense (the images and dialogue), to the more non-literal resolve (the climax, and the storyline itself). In Cache, there may be many answers.

This very different French film, directed by Michael Haneke, seemed to have made quite a positive run through the prestigious Cannes film festival. Cache seems to be a simple story that follows the inner and outer workings of a couple terrorized by anonymous video tapes planted on their front porch. And though one may draw parallels and reminisce with another film (namely, David Lynch's Lost Highway), the two could not be any more different. Michael Haneke, having taken a completely minimalist style, has surprisingly managed not to shy away from several excellent cinematic techniques that mend the film into almost bite-size chapters of mystery.

Hidden. Seemingly quite open-ended, the definitive issues that are laid out and discussed cover, in majority, hidden guilt and hidden secrets. The main character, Georges Laurent, played brilliantly by Daniel Auteuil, is a successful host for a literary television show who holds secrets relative to his childhood. The film touches on a story as a result of the Paris massacre of 1961, where a child loses his parents and falls into adoptive services. That child, Majid, crossed paths with Georges Laurent, who had made a set of horrific and clashing decisions (which ultimately led to his own set of childhood regrets and secrets). These lapses in judgment (or mistakes, if you will) made by a childhood Georges have haunted his conscience over the years and have adversely affected the life of Majid. The secrets Georges kept, as a result, remained hidden, deep inside.

Director Michael Haneke creates what seems to be his own stark visual and overall directorial style. From the lack of music (yes, there is no music, instrumental, or overall score) to the slowly paced, static shots that force to be observed. Cache seems to cover voyeurism in an eerily realistic fashion, and despite its slow pace, does not bore. Every frame and every shot is immersed in details and the viewer is forced to discern from fact or fiction and is often even tricked with tidbits that are irrelevant to the overall plot. The mystery follows the generic (or classic) whodunnit storyline, where you are introduced to several characters with their own set of facts and situational happenings, ironies and mishaps. You are often asking yourself, “Am I myself watching the Laurent family through the eyes and lens of the stalker or am I watching the Laurent family as they go day-to-day, and if so, what, truly, is the difference between the two?

The film is littered with violence and on occasion, slight instances of gore. Director Michael Haneke seems to like the approach of shocking his audience by first pulling them into a deep rest, from calm pictures, to a sudden jolt of violence or case of flashback. The film, laid out as starkly as a puzzle, does not abuse that very violence or gore, but instead, uses it best to paint a literal picture. The dreams and flashbacks that Georges Laurent feels are just as grim as the future he keeps pushing himself into as he struggles to retake control of his life and solve his own imminent mystery.

Many have stated that this film draws parallels and serves as an overall derivative work of other directorial productions (including Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch). In example, Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer states that the film is, "Like Hitchcock, only creepier." Though some instances of theory or storyline do indeed seem to be borrowed or more likely referenced, Haneke does not seem to have taken the Hitchcock (or even Lynchian) approach.

For better or for worse, the style, pace, and feel of this film is very different from most other directors, and the end result is far from bland (as the pacing may suggest). You are left refreshed -- Haneke managed to deliver a heavy, heavy film -- something that would normally be hard-to-digest and over-bearing, in an almost lax and grimly-themed package.

In the end, the puzzle fits, but not necessarily in a clear and defined way -- The true meaning is, of course, hidden. Cache.

"Cache" opens January 11, 2006 and is rated R. Drama, Thriller. Written and directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Benichou.



New Reviews