Shaun’s review published on Letterboxd:
March around the world - 4/30 - Austria
BYC2 - 10/66 - 1989
A European family, mother, father, and young daughter, who plan on escaping to Australia seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents.
All I can say is thank god I'm now in a somewhat decent frame of mind when I decided to watch this. Haneke is an excellent filmmaker with more than a touch of cold nihilism in his stories but The Seventh Continent takes the biscuit on that front. This is despair and cold-hearted nihilism that does not wish to comfort you with any kind of rationale or explanation. The fact of what happens is probably the darkest thing in our human psyche. There is no understanding of what this family decides to do. Their middle-class existence is shown in repetitive daily routines that go by with little heart or malice, they don't or can't seem to communicate with each other, and they write letters to their parents with the facade of a normal and content family getting on with things. Financially secure and seemingly stable. The world they inhabit is familiar, people working in a monotonous fashion, and the outlook is a little grim but not entirely hopeless.
Throughout the film, we see an advertisement for Australia in one image. The image brings out hope at first but the longer you look there is also anxious feeling that cuts to the core. This family decides they are going to emigrate there, and the decision is taken with the whole family... but there is anxiety in the viewer that they never seem to make the right steps to do that.
The film is unforgettable and takes a long and calm look into the disintegration of hell. Relentlessly bleak but made with insurmountable intelligence. Cold, clinical, and showing the darkest depths of supposed civilized minds.