Cache (US: Hidden) is a critically acclaimed mystery thriller directed by Austrian director Michael Haneke and starring French actors Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche. Georges Laurent (Auteuil) is a successful TV host of a book-club type show while his wife Anne (Binoche) works for a book publisher. They have a 12-yr old son and seemingly happily live in a cozy book-lined upscale apartment. The obviously well-to-do family starts receiving sinister videotapes of themselves and are perplexed by the meaning of those. Someone is watching them and they don’t know why. The threat slowly grows as the Laurent go through their daily lives. One day, the family starts receiving disturbing drawings of blood coming out a child’s mouth.
Haneke builds up the suspense patiently and methodically. The Laurent continue to live their life but it progressively starts to take a toll on them. Georges and Anne starts having fights because she thinks he knows something that she doesn’t know. He has a hunch about who is sending those tapes and doesn’t want to tell her. The viewer knows as little as the couple itself so we become detectives trying to solve this creepy riddle. Even as the plot unfolds it never becomes clear who is actually tormenting the Laurent. The film is ultimately a subtle political commentary on responsibility (here France toward Algeria) for past and present action. Let’s just say that Laurent did something bad to someone else when he was only a 6-yr old kid and willfully let himself off the hook because he was so young after all. However, this is now coming back to haunt him decades later.
Haneke intentionally leaves the ending open-ended and highly open for interpretation with many questions left unanswered. Some viewers will not mind, I personally felt I needed to know who sent those tapes but only because of that uncomfortable feeling of personal violation and not knowing who did it.
The cast performs on a high level. Daniel Auteuil slowly evolves from a smug and slightly blazed character at the start of the movie to a more introspective character who can lose his temper quickly. Juliette Binoche gave a strong performance as well in a supporting role. The movie features no musical score which gives it a quiet and sinister atmosphere.
A disturbing, unsettling and haunting psychological thriller that plays it close to the vest. Highly recommended especially if you like Hitchcock.
Notes: R-rated for strong violence, 117 minutes