Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ben X and Donnie Darko

    "In the game, heroic Ben X can take revenge on his enemies, and he enjoys the company of a sympathetic female character named Scarlite. Interspersed with Ben's story are interview sequences in which his sorrowful mother (Marijke Pinoy), his teachers and other significant figures talk about the boy in a way that suggests that some unspecified tragedy has occurred.

    Ben's chief tormentors are two savages (Titus De Voogdt and Maarten Claeyssens) who step up the abuse until it peaks in a humiliating incident filmed by numerous students on their cell phones and posted on the Internet. The victim's sole consolation is the distant friendship of a fellow game player (Laura Verlinden), the girl who adopts the Scarlite guise. Ben's mother tries to help, but she's worn down by Ben's recurring troubles.

    The ending undoes all the intense feelings built up by first-time director Nic Balthazar. It's an abrupt change that deflates the whole piece. Working from his own novel, the director wields a pretty blunt instrument, and, excluding the scenes set in the Overlord world, you may find yourself wondering whether a character or event is real or imagined.
    Lead actor Timmermans does a good job. At times, his Ben is reminiscent of Jake Gyllenhaal's "Donnie Darko" character, but unlike Gyllenhaal, Timmermans seems a bit long in the tooth for a high schooler".
    Source: www.sfgate.comSource URL:
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