Head to Head – The White Ribbon

Welcome to the latest edition of Head to Head, in which our Quickflix critic takes on our readers in a rip-snorting battle to the death! You pick the film, and we pick the fight!

This week, Tom Clift punished Michael Haneke‘s Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon by … uhh, tying a white ribbon around its arm! (Look it up.) For his troubles, he scored a double pass to Toy Story 3. You can send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix too! (Oh, and check out Tom’s blog Plus Trailers!)

Tom Cliftwill argue AGAINST the film while Quickflix critic Simon Miraudo will argue FOR it. Let us know in the comments section below who you agree with. Spare no vitriol! Choose your side! There can only be one winner!

Tom Clift – 1.5/5

It’s foreign. It’s a period film. It’s in black and white. And it has that oh so ambiguous ending. All in all, it really was just begging to be acclaimed. Michael Haneke’s latest is undeniably a gorgeously shot and at times very well directed film. Yet despite the narrator’s continual insistence that his tale will yield some kind of greater meaning, The White Ribbon ultimately teaches us almost nothing about humanity that we didn’t already know. Cruel people do and say unpleasant things? All that it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing? Things were hard “back in the day”? This movie has several fantastic scenes that would work wonderfully as shorts; unfortunately, they are scattered through a story that is largely uninteresting and filled with far too many characters, most of whom I did not like or care about. If this director’s earlier work was lacking in subtly (Simon, this is where you get to have a go at Funny Games), then his latest has exactly the opposite problem.

Simon Miraudo5/5

No no no no no no no, don’t dangle Funny Games in the middle of your attack on The White Ribbon. Are you trying to condition me Pavlovian-style to connect my feelings for one of the worst films of all time (yes, you Funny Games) with the masterpiece that is The White Ribbon? Not gonna happen. Haneke delivered his greatest work yet with this stunningly photographed exploration of evil, revenge and the origin of terrorism. You question the motives behind the film Tom, wondering what it all means. But the question in a Michael Haneke film is never “Why?” In fact, I don’t think he offers us the opportunity to ask questions. He presents us with horror, and we are forced to process the consequences, knowing that this horror has happened, was always going to happen and will continue to happen for decades to come. I don’t think The White Ribbon lacks subtlety; it’s one of the best examinations of humanity (read: evil) in recent years. Tom, perhaps you’re just too young and wide-eyed to appreciate Haneke’s nihilism. Let me know how you feel about the film when you reach the ripe old age of 22 like myself.

Now it’s over to you! What are your thoughts on The White Ribbon? Let us know in the comments section below. If you would like to be featured in the next Head to Head and possibly win some free movie tickets,
send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!

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