Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
The lengths to which we’d go not to lose what’s ours is a personal and, at times, political hypothetical few of us must actively consider, as no unforeseen disturbances ever ripple our waters. Michael Haneke’s haunting, hard-to-shake Caché depicted the violent wake of a boulder dropped into one privileged family’s serene pond.
It starts with videotapes left at the door of talk-show host Georges (Daniel Auteuil), unbroken footage of his home from a fixed position down the street. Soon, violent drawings accompany the tapes, and Georges believes that an incident from his past points to the person behind the problem at hand. His secretive investigation severely undercuts a foundation of trust in his marriage to Anne (Juliette Binoche).
Haneke, for whom merciless psychological unsettlement is stock in trade, offers no conventional catharsis or escape in this demanding 2005 French-language thriller.
Coming from a guy who sliced private parts onscreen long before Lars von Trier made headlines for it, Caché is restrained — excepting one character’s shockingly violent cry for remembrance. But Haneke skillfully, slowly twists the knife on those who would so carelessly forget a decision that forever altered the life of someone else.
Even a plausible last-shot explanation for keen viewers can be disputed, guaranteed as it is to spark spirited, if not heated, what-did-that-mean discussion.
As Caché did with its characters, its reveal and any interpretation came down to what you’d observed or obscured and whether you’d considered that an unknown person’s guilt — or one character’s madness — had motivated all the mental mayhem.