A white luxurious house, high-raised buildings in the background, and the road in the front occupied with cars. This is the opening scene of Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Cache (Hidden) which runs longer than you could expect. The still frame makes you aware of the chaos lying ahead, but what’s wrong? While you try to decode, the image breaks down and a videotape is being played.
The Laurent family lead idyllic lives until they start receiving video tapes containing absurd and lengthy footage recorded outside of their house. It becomes a matter of debate if they are being watched or stalked. They try to track down the anonymous stalker and while getting close to the truth, past memories resurfaces for Georges Laurent.
The beauty of Cache is that Haneke never reveals the true identity of the “stalker” or the “victim,” whatever you call him/her, it all depends on your perspective. While the stillness of the film makes us uncomfortable, the mystery of the story is what keeps us rooted. Without exploiting the time frame, Cache tests our patience.
In the last scene i.e the closing shot which takes place on a crowded stairs of a school two characters of the story are engaged in an “unsounded” conversation, beware! you’ll miss them if you aren’t completely hooked to the frame. Either the closing shot tells a different story altogether or is just an uncertain moment in the story, that’s how life is.
As Georges tries to revisit his past and his childhood memories, we hope that finally we will be able to decode the real mystery. But Cache is not an usual thriller that has a set of answers pre-defined, it relies on the subtlety of the story and the way we perceive it to find our own answers.
Cache has a subtle-yet-a-political approach which sets it apart from the contemporary thrillers.