The first part of Haneke's trilogy dealing with the 'emotional glaciation' of contemporary Austria, this deploys a pared, matter of fact, almost Bressonian visual and narrative style to chart the preparations made by a youngish, well-to-do couple who decide, quite coolly, to take their own lives and that of their uncomprehending young daughter. Though no explicit explanation is given for their decision, Haneke's attention to detail is such that the malaise affecting them and the frustrations of conformity soon become apparent. Moreover, the stark, calm visuals, the understated performances, and the measured but inexorable pace of the film gradually build to a terrifying emotional intensity. Hugely chastening, strangely beautiful, and extremely impressive.
Cast and crew