The film centers on the pedophile titular character (Michael Fuith), who has imprisoned a (sadly nameless except in the credits) boy (David Rauchenberger) in his house behind retractable shutters, soundproofing, and barricaded doors. He feeds the kid and lets him watch television, but he also does unspeakable things to him. And he wretchedly stamps out the child's forms of escape (storing all the letters he's written to his parents in a hidden box).
Though one scene may have shown Michael having a cry, there's no indication of ethics for him. He apparently can go on with his life without moral reproach (which is emphasized via religion). So one has to wonder: what happened to him as a kid? What led to this despicable man? At the film's ending (sure to be extremely divisive), we see members of his family, but they seem completely oblivious to the horrific depths to which Michael has plunged.
Another query Schleinzer is raising is: how does the rest of the world view pedophiles? Obviously they're detested, but what about when people don't know who they're dealing with? Michael is an insurance person, and he talks on the phone a lot with many people. It reminded me of the Mr. Show sketch with the rapist who has to identify himself as one everywhere he goes. But this is the real world, and that doesn't happen.
Since Schleinzer tries to make the style as cut-and-dry as possible, the way he sequences the events is the channel through which we sense his judgment. The ending is probably most prominent in sensing what he's trying to say, as it's incongruous in a natural sequence. I would agree that the ending isn't handled in exactly the best way possible. A friend called it manipulative and that it is. But it also sheds some light on mothers and sons in general, as well as a terrifying semi-absolution. At 96 minutes, "Michael" is short and insubstantial. It definitely has its problems. But it does have some things to say, with impeccable craft to say them with, and it does a good job of taking apart every bit of Michael's life. B