Michael (2011)

Michael is the first film written and directed by Markus Schleinzer, starring Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger and Ursula Strauss.

Michael (Michael Fuith) leads a rather normal, if slightly withdrawn life. Apart from Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger), the 10-year-old boy who lives locked up in his basement. The movie chronicles a few months out of their lives together.

Ugh. Pedophilia is never an easy subject and Michael is a hard movie. It’s calm and collected and damn ugly. It is also very well made and effective. But it’s not really a film you can like.

It is an interesting choice to have Michael be the main character and tell the story from his point of view. I didn’t know before going into the movie and automatically assumed that Michael would be the boy, which is not surprising seeing as these things are usually dealt with.

Schleinzer tells his story without sensationalizing anything and without much judgement either. He is calm, doesn’t gloss over anything and shows that there is a human side to Michael, while in no way diminishing his cruelty or the staggering size of his crime.

There was this really gruelling scene where Michael drives home from work after celebrating his promotion there and singing along “Sunny” that’s playing on the radio – and you know he is on his way to fuck a ten year old that is locked up in his basement. It still gives me the chills.

The cast was really good. Michael Fuith was amazing and Ursula Strauss was absolutely great as well. David Rauchenberger was really good for a boy his age, though he wasn’t perfect.

The ending in its form did suprise me – I did not expect [SPOILER] Wolfgang to basically save himself or Michael dying in an accident [/SPOILER] – though generally it seemed quite inevitable.

Summarising: Austrian cinema at its depressing best.

2 thoughts on “Michael (2011)

  1. I liked it. Is that really fucked up? Watched at the Vancouver International Film Fest and it kept me hooked the whole time. Maybe I’m desensitized to everything by the wonders of the internet, but while I did cringe at ‘this is my gun, this is my cock’, I still found humour throughout, and loved that Michael was shown as a regular -creepy- dude with a secret. I talked to some people after the movie, though, and most of them seemed scarred for life – I didn’t feel it that way at all.

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