Directed with subtle terror by Michael Haneke, the ingenious thriller Caché asks a deeply unsettling question: if you were being watched, and judged, and you didn’t know who it was, what would you assume they knew about you? Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche play a bourgeois middle-aged couple who discover, to their consternation and gradual horror, that somebody is filming the front of their house. Every day they receive a new VHS tape with a single, static shot from across the street, and a disturbing, hand-drawn image, and the question of what they did to deserve this bizarre stalker starts to rip them apart.
The inciting incident is uncomfortably eerie, but Haneke isn’t interested in warping our reality or conventional excitement. Cachéallows a few simple video cassettes to completely destroy lives, simply by making people watch them and form their own conclusions. It’s a thriller about guilt and other universal human emotions, but it’s also an indicting meta-narrative about our collective use of cinema as a Rorschach test. What it reveals about the characters in Caché, and what it reveals about the audience, is uncomfortably damning.