# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - Ben X

  by Mark Rowland

published: 31 / 7 / 2008

Miscellaneous - Ben X


The affecting, but somewhat erratic debut of Belgian director Nic Balthazar, Mark Rowland finds new film 'Ben X', the story of a teenager with Asperger's syndrome who is only truly comfortable when playing a fictional online role playing game, to be an intriguing mass of ideas

Belgian director Nic Balthazar's debut film throws together a combination of different ideas to tell the story of Ben, a teenager with Asperger's syndrome who is only truly comfortable when playing the fictional online role playing game Archlord (Ben X is his character name). The film starts with Ben's narration, giving him and his family a back story. As the story progresses, unexpected documentary style 'interviews' with principle characters break up the main story hinting at something ominous just around the corner. This marrying of documentary and first-person narrative is interesting and at times works incredibly well, although it breaks the tension in others. Generally, Balthazar has the sense to let the story tell itself at the most important plot points. Scenes of bullying are particularly difficult to watch, the chief perpetrators being unsympathetic slime balls. Despite the fact that Greg Timmermans, who plays Ben, looks closer to his 30's than his teens, he plays the character subtly – Ben is nervy and his face is nigh-on expressionless and yet you know how he's feeling as events unfurl. You can't help but root for him, particularly when it comes to his online friend, Scarlite (Laura Verlinden), a sort of love interest who wants to help Ben. The ending is unexpected, strangely pleasing and baffling at the same time, though it is a welcome change to the predictable 'shy kid bullied at school' scenario that usually ends in one of two ways. The film’s soundtrack is varied, using the sort of sweeping fantasy music you’d expect to find in a World Of Warcraft-style role playing game to good effect, in both the game sequences and in Ben’s everyday life, in which he compares certain events to the game he plays. It is the work of Belgian techno pioneer Praga Khan, who previously provided music for films such as 'Basic Instinct', 'Bad Lieutenant' and 'Strange Days'. Appropriately, he also composed the soundtrack to the video game 'Mortal Kombat'. The music never feels forced and compliments the story nicely, particularly when Ben is travelling alone and he uses music to shut out the noise of the people around him. It doesn't all work, but Ben X is an interesting and affecting debut for Balthazar, who is clearly a man of many ideas.

Picture Gallery:-
Miscellaneous - Ben X

Miscellaneous - Ben X

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors