France, Germany, Austria
“Haneke’s magisterial control of tone, actor and shot is not to be underestimated: there are scenes of quiet, nuanced authority and menace here that, true to form, compel our attention with their glacial brilliance… For once, Haneke’s famous narrative reticence feels frustrating rather than rewarding.” – Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
“It’s pure Haneke crack: While the structure recalls aspects of his overlapping narratives in “Code Unknown,” it also explicitly references the fragile mortality at the center of “Amour,” while also making that movie look downright sentimental. From the fear of death at the center of “Amour,” Haneke has shifted to people for whom the end can’t arrive soon enough.” – Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
“Haneke, ever the cerebral sadist, looks a bunch of seriously fucked-up souls straight in the eye and shares what he finds with an utter lack of sentimentality that borders on disinterest or even cruelty.” – Zhuo-Ning Su (Awards Daily)
With back-to-back Palme d’Or wins for Haneke’s films (The White Ribbon; Amour), Happy End is competing with a now over-crowded bunch of talented filmmakers for any of the top prizes. Although some fine reviews, I still think Haneke may be pushed a little too far down the pecking order this year. Like the Dardennes somehow did in 2014 with Two Days, One Night, even the most prolific Cannes-goers have to sit a turn out once in a while.