This cerebral Austrian mystery, by avant-garde director Michael Haneke, will disturb those viewers with the patience to wade through it. The film begins with a grisly mass killing. It was Christmas eve 1993 and a 19-year old student inexplicably murders several people and then kills himself.
The fragmented film flashes back to October 12 and then progresses toward the fateful night. Throughout the film many characters appear and suddenly reappear. A homeless teenaged Romanian exile roaming Vienna's streets and begging provides continuity.
Each fragment begins with a newscast that functions as a surreal Greek Chorus One shows footage of the war in Sarajevo, and the other is a story about Michael Jackson.