"Cache" -- the title of which translates as "Hidden" -- moves the German-born, Austrian raised director's operation to France, for a study of a Parisian family, the Laurents, whose lives are ravaged when mysterious surveillance videocassettes begin arriving at their door.
At first, the tapes are stark and uncomplicated, showing the front of the family's home from somewhere across the street. But as they become a little more complex, and creepy drawings begin to accompany them to the Laurents' door, the besieged Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and Anne (Juliette Binoche) start cracking under the mounting questions: Who's shooting the tapes? What purpose do they serve? Does this have something to do with Georges' job as a TV host? Is there a connection to a secret buried in someone's past? Or is something even darker at work?
Anyone familiar with Haneke's work -- which includes "Benny's Video," "Funny Games," "The Piano Teacher" and his riveting, underrated apocalypse thriller "Time of the Wolf" -- knows he's never had much time for easy answers, and people who like their thrillers tied up in a nice little package are probably going to walk out of "Cache" baying for his head. (The inevitable American remake, which will star, oh, let's say Richard Gere and Annette Bening, will probably make them happier.)
But Auteuil and Binoche are electrifying in their starkly drawn roles, and Haneke traps them in an almost unbearable atmosphere of claustrophobia and panic. If you like your thrillers ambiguous and intelligent -- in other words, European -- "Cache" is a masterful exercise in paranoid tension.
Sony's enhanced-widescreen DVD is distinguished by its elegant menu design -- intended to reflect the movie's minimalism -- and two in-depth production featurettes constituting an hour of supplemental material.
"Behind the Scenes of Cache" offers just what it promises, a half-hour look at the making of the movie built around extensive interviews with Haneke and his stars. (Auteuil and Binoche have clearly been asked to explain the mystery at the movie's heart; both refuse in a most elegant fashion.)
The other supplement, billed on the package as a "Documentary on Director Michael Haneke," is nothing so fancy; it's just a 25-minute interview with the filmmaker, who's gotten very good at talking around the essential nature of his infernal puzzle box, If you're absolutely desperate for slivers of information, you'll find them in here ... though Haneke is careful to avoid offering anything that could be used as a definitive theory of the film.
STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2006
TIME: 118 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: English and Spanish subtitles; production featurettes
INTERNET SITE: www.cachemovie.com