Breaking the fourth wall:
Update from a reader:
A quick note: The vast majority of these clips are not really “Breaking the Fourth Wall.” They are simply POV shots, showing what one of the characters in the film is seeing. It’s an effective technique for helping the audience put themselves into the mind of one of the characters. But true breaking of the fourth wall is the direct acknowledgment of the audience. You are not being put in the position of a character; you are being asked to conspiratorially join in the movie.
My favorite versions are malevolent in nature; many remember several shots like this in the Austrian and American versions of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, as one of the young killers turns to the camera and asks the audience their opinion. But my favorite comes in Atom Egoyan’s Felicia’s Journey as repressed serial killer Bob Hoskins slowly walks through his home, I believe up some stairs, presumably on his way to kill a young victim. And then he pauses, and looks directly at the camera for an uncomfortable moment, before continuing on. Essentially he was indicting us in his crimes, there are no passive observers.