Thursday, February 26, 2009

BEN X - Sigur Ros sound-track good, schmaltzy ending bad

BEN X is the avatar of an autistic Belgian teen called Ben whose only social interaction is with a fellow on-line fantasy game-player. When vicious school bullies make Ben the star of Youtube he considers suicide. Debut feature writer-director Nic Balthazar does a good job in showing how Ben reacts to real-life as a computer game and technically the movie is spot on. What I didn't like was the lazy characterization of fear - rubbing an eyebrow, jittery feet - and the implausible, schmaltzy ending. Still, the movie evidently struck such a chord with audiences that it's being remade in English. One wonders if it will be successful given that the plot twist is so weak and, presumably, by now known.

BEN X played Berlin 2008. It was released in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2007 and in France, Germany, Turkey, Finland, the UK, Sweden, Hungary, Denmark and the US last year. It was released earlier this year in Argentina and goes on release in Spain next week. It is available on DVD.

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