“AMOUR” My rating: A- (Opening Feb. 8 at the Tivoli and Glenwood Arts)
95 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
Forty years ago, when I was a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star, I followed a police dispatch call to a seedy midtown transient hotel. The bodies of an elderly couple had been found lying side by side on the bed in their cramped one-room apartment.
The cop in charge said it was either a murder-suicide or a double suicide. He’d been told that in recent weeks the wife had been seriously ill.
Back then I was too shallow and, well, scared to examine the implications of this sad tableau. But Michael Haneke’s “Amour” brought it all back to me.
Haneke is an Austrian auteur who makes seriously disturbing movies.
Movies like “Funny Games” in which a couple of young creeps imprison and torture a vacationing family. Haneke liked that one so much that he later made an English version that was almost frame-for-frame identical to the original.
Movies like “The Piano Teacher,” a psychosexual drama about a woman with buried pathologies and sado-masochistic tendencies, all wrapped up in an elegant environment.
Compared to those twisted tales “Amour,” might seem downright humanistic. But there’s savagery even here.