Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Belgian Angst 

Wednesday, Dec 24 2008
Comments
The best movie we’ve seen about teen angst since Donnie Darko comes from Belgium? Ben X is also the best film about a bullied teen with Asperger’s Syndrome that we’ve seen from any country, and its blurred life-into-videogame fantasy sequences makes it seem doubly topical. Ben (Greg Timmermans) spends waaay too much time logged onto a multi-user fantasy role-playing game, but what other consolation does he have in life? His peers torment him; girls won’t look his way; and his divorced parents seem powerless to help. Onscreen, however, his pimple-faced avatar smites rival warriors and wins a comely princess (whose braces make her resemble a certain girl from his high-school class). Timmermans looks too old for his character, whose past-tense voiceovers portend a certain ominous, Columbine-style denouement, but director Nic Balthazar — adapting his own novel — has carefully constructed Ben X so that its twist ending isn’t borrowed or cheap. And the barrage of screen graphics, text messages, and cell-phone videos speaks to modern teens’ isolation-in-connectivity. “2 late 2 heal,” Ben texts his vidgame paramour. You don’t have to be Belgian to know that feeling.
Dec. 26-Jan. 1, 2008

About The Author

Brian Miller

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • How Weird Street Faire
    The 16th annual How Weird Street Faire shut down SoMa on Sunday as people flocked to the city wearing colorful costumes to dance, view performances, and enjoy art. Photographs by Michael Hendrickson.
  • Star Wars Celebration @ Anaheim Convention Center
    Christopher Victorio brings back photos from a land not so far away of the Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular