Chill to the core, Haneke presents human cruelty not to make us empathize with the victims or understand the oppressors but to rub our noses in the crimes of our species. He thinks he’s held on to the subversive ideals of punk, but all I smell is skunk.
Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings
Aug 26, 2010The movie is nothing more than a dark tale of metaphors and anti-humanism. Set in a small pre-World War I village in Germany, Haneke unravels schemes that he uses to signify the rise of fascism by the need for control - no characters are left without faults, and the more that is revealed, the more we realize that the village will inevitably spiral into chaos. The plot itself is provoking, but the movie would be nothing without Haneke's methodical direction, weaving bleakness with uncertainty and paranoia in a way that is sure to gnaw at your soul.… Full Review »
Aug 9, 2014Haneke's acclaimed picture is not much apart from an excellent direction, its beautiful black-and-white cinematography, and some symbols. The film feels more of a mystery film, which is good, but struggles to present itself as an arthouse. Its concept is pretty commonplace, and so is the way it tells its story. It is truly stunning to look at, it is entertaining to watch, but there is nothing that justifies the fact that it tries so hard to be considered a classic. I really liked its looks, but was disappointed in its emptiness. Worth-watching, though.… Full Review »
Mar 25, 2013The story of a small village in Germany right before World War I. The White Ribbon is an emotional experience but not of the feel good sort. This film does not really have a central character, and only two characters that we can root for. While most movies with bleak story lines try to move our emotions from dark to light, Haneke takes the opposite approach. While the mood is never light, it still manages to become harsher and darker as the story progresses.
Someone seems to be targeting the citizens of this small village. A handful of them are brutally injured at separate times and with no witnesses. As the search towards finding the culprit takes place we get to know many of the folks in the village. The teacher in the village is the one character that we can have a positive response to and he is also the narrator of the story. So we learn what is happening as he does. The women and children in this story are more seen than heard and that is the way that the men of the village want it. We see the harsh treatment of them throughout the film and it is hard not to have a visceral response to the abuse they are subjected to.
This film thrives under Haneke's hand. Everything that is great about it is owed to him. The pace is slow and steady, so the viewers response grows with the film. Each shot is beautifully framed, the black and white setting is brilliant for this story. The dialogue is sharp and ambiguous. This is the type of film that I will not be in a hurry to revisit. However I am glad I did once and it will stick with me for a long time.… Full Review »