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Thursday, May 01, 2008

BenX


This is a very intense first film by Nic Balthazar who also wrote first the play and then the novel called Nothing is All He Said and now directs this unbelievable good movie. A great achievement as you can hardly believe that he has never before made a film as this movie not only tells an extraordinary story, but also has extremely good technical specs.

The story is based in true events and basically tells about Ben, a withdrawn autistic boy that dreams of taking revenge on the school bullies in the same effortless way he dispatches his enemies in a computer video game. But in my opinion is one of the most extraordinary ways to tell a story about school bullying in general and even if Ben is autistic, this movie makes for an unnerving if solid cinematic case against bullying in school.

Most viewers and critics comment that the dialogue is extraordinary (with wordplays and puns) and I truly regret that I do not understand the movie language, as you will lose that part of the movie in translation. Just to give you an example if you say very fast the movie title the sound becomes the Dutch word benniks that means: I am nothing, which has a big relationship to the story. By the way BenX is also the avatar’s name in the video game Ben plays.

But actually you will not notice it that much as the cinematography is so good with many handheld camera takes and many interweaved video game screens that since the very beginning until the very end your eyes will be glued to the screen and you will be able to totally follow the story. This is one of the most extraordinary and believable ways I have ever seen of blending the real with a virtual world and produce an outstanding character development that will not only show you clearly what’s on Ben’s mind but also will make you fell him in his silence. Great!

Do not think that this is a movie for video gamers as it is not. The video game with the virtual world is absolutely used with the sole purpose of allowing you inside the lead character, which is outstandingly played by Greg Timmermans.

The movie has many honors and accolades including winning the Grand Prix des Amériques at the 2007 Montreal World Film Festival and being the official entry of Belgium for the 2008 Academy Awards. Not for all audiences as is that kind of movie that some will love it –like me- while others will not; besides I cannot call it art cinema, but it is a very well done arty movie.

Enjoy!!!

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