Ben X

Ben X

68%
  • Ben X
    2 minutes 40 seconds
    Added: Aug 4, 2008

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Ben X Reviews

Page 1 of 29
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2010
This was a very cool movie, with a very unexpected ending...which always is a plus for me. I found it very interesting, and unusual..but in a good way.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

August 7, 2009
To be entirely honest, I was ready to give this film one star, because the tale of the Asperger syndrom kid that gets bullied so much he is considering suicide is really getting on your nerves at times. It's giving you the protagonist's thoughts somewhat unfiltered, and maybe they are accurate as far as that condition goes, but it's a bit much at times. Timmerman's performance isn't always very convincing either. The online gaming fantasy world his character is escaping to is also incorporated into his thoughts and the film, which is rather well done. Bits of interviews with some of the characters commenting on a yet unknown catastrophe interrupt the action, but at least give you a bit of tension about what said tragedy is. Sadly, the film is extremely undecided on what he wants to comment. The syndrome? The bullying, which is taking so much time of the film you sometimes feel like forwarding your tape because it's painful to watch? The suicidal thoughts? The hope in shape of his internet friend? I felt like stopping the film a few times, because it was just too much, and aimlessly so. What saved the film after all was the final twist, or two actually, and the fact that Sigur Ros had a song in it. Anyone intrigued by the basic premise can certainly have a look, but it's not the easiest movie to watch. At least you don't feel cheated of your time in the end.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

March 20, 2010
A well constructed film about a boy with autism that escapes into a popular RPG to escape harsh reality. The film's messages are obvious, but mostly handled with care. It does go a bit too dark and then a bit too light for my tastes. The first hour had me angered and intrigued, but the last 30 minutes are a bit too schmaltzy and light. It doesn't completely gloss over the difficult issues, but the film soon corners itself in a place where no ending would have been satisfactory. A distant but understandable performance from Timmermans makes this an easy watch, and the jumps between life and the computer world are simple and controlled.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2010
Like "Let The Right One In", "Ben X" is another foreign language film about bullies and escapism. Instead of a friendly vampire, Ben X's escape comes in the form of an online, multi-player fantasy game where he is a powerful warrior hero. In the game, he is befriended by a beautiful warrior princess who, somewhere out in cyberspace, has a real life female counterpart. But as great and powerful as he is in the video game world, he is the exact opposite in real life. He suffers from asperger's syndrome, a milder form of autism, and is picked on mercilessly by a couple of bullies (they call him the "mars boy", or martian boy). Because he is so helplessly socially ackward, there's a wall that separates him from the other teens in his school. He only sees the details, the bigger picture of life doesn't register. One day it comes to a head when the bullies put him up onto a desk and de-pants him as other kids in the class capture the video on their cell phones. To his horror, he gets home to find the video is circulating on the internet and being seen by thousands of people. Seeing life through the eyes of his video game character, he begins to think about revenge, and as his mother says, it seems like it won't end until someone dies. Ben X mixes a documentary-style feeling with video game graphics (a menu will sprout up when he's confronted with a choice in his daily life), but it's not the style so much as the substance that draws you in. The message that "bullying is bad" might be simplistic, but it deals openly and honestly with real emotions. It's like an intense, open wound being exposed right in the center of childhood. It's a mighty powerful film.
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2008
Minor dutch 'issue' drama on autism and its social impact. The bullying is portrayed with suitable zeal and the lead's distorted grip on reality lends itself well to the computer game context. The twist is obvious and a little unnecessary but overall it makes a worthy effort.
Emile T

Super Reviewer

April 11, 2008
Impressively good, I really liked it.
Cinema-Maniac
Cinema-Maniac

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2012
Living with any kind of disorder is difficult and making movie base around those disorders usually have mix results. The case could made with Ben X as it suffers from it story.

Ben X is about As an alternative to getting bullied at school, an autistic teenager retreats into the world of online role-playing games. Ben X is uneven in storytelling with a weak third act. The first two act could be slow at times, but they don`t constantly repeat the idea Ben suicide. This makes the third act a letdown and repetitive as it challenges you to keep watching even though you have a good idea where it`s going by that point. Throughout the movie we get both what`s happening in the movie and mockumentary like segments. These mockumentary segments took me out of the movie because they often provide obvious insight on what already happened and how the characters feel. As for the movie itself it`s interesting, but slow for the first two act showing us Ben bullied in school, monolouge from Ben telling us how he exactly feels, and some scene expressing Ben loniness. Even though I don`t know much about the actual teenager this movie is based on, I feel the ending doesn`t give the audience hope for people with any kind of Autism. The character Scarlet, who`s important to Ben in the third act, makes Ben happier about being alive and changes him for the better, well it turns out that she`s imaginary. Ben only friend who understands and comforts him in a difficult time is imaginary, that dosen`t help the people diagnose with Autism feel hopefull about the future and feel better about themselves. Ben X story might have enjoy as much as everyone else, but it`s not bad in my view. It just should`ve taken a different direction.

The cast does a good job doing what they're supposed to do, but they're not interesting. There was not one single moment in the movie did I care for any for the character, but at-least the cast makes the flawed story more tolerable and watchable. Not much else could said about this movie beside the cast makes worth a watch, even if the story doesn't have the impact it was aiming.

Ben X is not a great movie about Autism due to the uneven writing and ending. It's not bad, but it's not what could have been.
Michael M.
Michael M.

Super Reviewer

November 1, 2011
Making a film about a person who is challenged in some way, be it mentally or physically, is always a tricky task. Good intentions of trying to raise awareness can sometimes come off as arrogance, self-righteousness, or simply a complete lack of understanding towards the subject. It doesn't help that the world at large tends to view people like this as handicapped (a term I loathe), and requiring of pity. As someone with Aspergers syndrome, this subject hits particularly close to home. When I hear people offer pity for the condition, or "hope for a cure," it comes off as unfathomably offensive. Understanding however is something that I welcome, and sometimes I will refer them to a film that shows what it's like to be an aspie (particularly since film is one of my "obsessive interests," a symptom of Aspergers). Of the films I've seen that deal with the condition, this one comes the closest to what it's like.

Perhaps I should address what Aspergers is for those who don't know. It's a form of high-functioning autism that, among other things, is characterized by obsessive interests, difficulty with expected social skills, and what some refer to as "sensory overload." Our lead for Ben X is a teenager with Aspergers. Ben has a stronger form of Aspergers, and is clearly not medicated. That's not information given in the film mind you, that's my own personal analysis of him as a character. I guess that's a good testament to the performance by newcomer Greg Timmermans that I was able to make that diagnosis in the 90 minute runtime, but it does also strike me as odd how whenever we see someone with any sort of mental condition in cinema, it's always to the extreme. Seems a bit unfair, and people with milder cases are far more common, but I guess that's where the market value lies.

The symptoms here may be presented in a more extreme manner, but they sure as hell are accurate. The film tries to make you see the world through Ben's eyes, and I think it succeeds. When he's uncomfortable, you're uncomfortable, and there are times when this movie is downright painful to watch. The film also makes clever use of editing to show the aspie way of viewing the world. When Ben's mom tells him "look at me!" he looks at her, but never makes eye contact, and instead through close-up shots we see his point of view noticing each strand of hair, each wrinkle, drops of sweat, noticing each individual detail of the face but not the face as a whole. Additionally Ben almost never talks throughout the course of the film, but his voice is still heard through an internal monologue that pervades throughout.

Ben is also an avid player of the online video game Archlord. This is more than merely a representation of his obsessive interest (or a cheap marketing gimmick from the creators of Archlord, which is a real game) it's actual integral to the narrative and style of the film. Throughout the film there will be quick cuts to clips from the game, relating what is happening in real life to something in the game. For example, if two bullies are assaulting Ben, there will be a cut showing his in-game character being attacked by orcs. Visually it's very intriguing, and it's also an interesting way of showing how someone with Aspergers will apply their interests to real life.

There are a lot of parts to this movie I'm very mixed on, and I still haven't come to my final conclusion of it. At times it feels like it's a pity piece, but then in the final act Ben takes matters into his own hands regarding his abusers in a manner that's actually empowering. However that is only confirmed by a twist that happens in the last 10 seconds of the movie, a twist that to me came off as confused and offensive. It also some times felt a bit too extreme, but at the same time that extremeness helped capture the feeling of helplessness as well as provide a distinct look and feel. The film flies by like a rollercoaster, and in the 90-minute runtime it's virtually impossible to get bored. Still, I'm not really sure I liked it, and there's a big part of me that actually hated it. At the same time, it's a visually fascinating filled with some creative editing and directing, and for the most part it really does manage to give a point-of-view look at the life of someone with Aspergers. It has its faults, and it can be very unpleasant, but I think it's an important film that's worth checking out.

Highlights
Directed by: Nic Balthazar
Screenplay by: Nic Balthazar, adapted from his novel
Starring: Greg Timmermans, Laura Verlinden, Marijke Pinoy
Pros: A creative and gritty directing style, a usally effective look through the eyes of someone with Aspergers
Cons: Some parts go overboard in style or presentation of the material
Rated: Not Rated, contains mild language, brief moments of partial male nudity, and intense scenes of bullying
Should You See it?: Yes, but don't let it be your only source of knowledge on Aspergers
Mark A

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2010
Brilliant look at a young man with Asberger's Syndrome who is tormented at school by a couple of bullies and ridiculed by his classmates. Ben, brilliantly played by Greg Timmermans, is a gifted gamer who cannot speak and can barely function in society. He attracts the attention of another, female, player and the two become hard and fast allies. The screenplay immerses the viewer in Ben's world and one frequently loses track of whether what we see on screen is reality or fantasy. The revenge that Ben finally plans and executes on his tormentors salvages an otherwise depressing, infuriating look at the depravity of man towards those who are different and makes this the award winning film that it is.
Blaster1618
Blaster1618

Super Reviewer

September 11, 2010
Ben X cannot effectively read other persons emotions or naturally express his own emotion. He is trapped in his own head by version of Autism called Aspergers syndrome. As the movie portrays there are varying degrees of Asperger in people you meet every day. If you work in a technical field you run into more than your fair share. Greg Timmermas dos a very good interpretation of a person with Aspergers. Unlike most movies that drag with internal dialog this movie need more. The parts of the movie that follow Ben around tend to drag the energy of the movie down. Ben escapes his shell when he enters the gaming arena sitting at his own computer. He has a beautiful companion is a healer. She arranges a meeting in the real world at a train station. He follows her around and never introduces himself. If I went any further it would be a spoiler, but this is were the movie gets strange. Give it a watch.
John2223
John2223

Super Reviewer

August 6, 2009
Captivating from the beginning to the unexpected twist ending. The acting was very good, as well as, the technicals apects.
Sad and compelling story and very accurate. The movie brings forth a quite realistic view of school youth and their cruelty. Secondly, it also represents the world of a bully victim quite vividly.
Worth watching!!
USA remake is coming soon!!
March 17, 2011
Wifey chose to watch this totally by chance, but it was surprisingly fitting, in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day. A cinematographically imaginative film that succeeds in expressing a lil bit of what transpires in the synapses of those classified under the autism spectrum. I won't spoil the ending for you, since this belgian film is a must watch, whether your lives have been touched by those with similar conditions or not.
SIRmur
August 8, 2010
A tale of a teenage boy with Aspergers Syndrome named Ben. Ben does not understand the complexities in the outside world and therefore is mistreated by his parents, teachers and peers. The story line is full of fantasy that becomes embedded into Ben's reality. The viewer becomes consumed with the chaotic emotions the main character experiences. Visually stylish, well paced, momentum building, including a few twists, this is a highly recommended, interesting tale.
marevalo83
March 11, 2010
Deeply disturbing and rather depressing for the first 3/4+. I found the character portrayals and acting very well done. I both felt sympathy for Ben and was extremely satisfied with the film's conclusion.
AlaineB
January 25, 2010
Autistic teen is bullied, teased, taunted by his schoolmates. He has a life in a fantasy computer game. The hell at school reaches new lows and he's forced to suicide as his final option for relief. Based on a true story, but with a different ending than the real life one. I would have seen the twist coming a mile away, but the film beautifully led me astray.
March 25, 2009
Oh. My. God.

Easily the best work ever done on film, on the subject of Asperger Syndrome!

Also the best foreign movie I've ever seen!!!

I would love to see this made in America with actors our younger generation knows, relates to and has adulation for, but I'm not sure we have any young english speaking actors that could pull off a part this intense and make it as believable as this is. If they could, I'd love to see it shown in schools, churchs, social clubs and anywhere else where aspers are made to try and fit in!

Greg Timmermans NAILED the part of someone with AS so well, I wonder if he has familial contact with an asper?

I can't think of a single thing that could have made this movie any better. The best and most intensely moving flick I have seen in a very long time!
donymicro
January 26, 2009
the performance of greg timmermans is unbelievable!!Brings a very different point of view to "suicide"
May 19, 2014
excellent visual effect, self thinking in real world into game world expression is very praiseworthy.
March 13, 2014
breath taking and heart breaking the story of an autistic boy. shows how much some people misunderstand the autistic. showed my friends and they almost cried BEUATIFUL movie :)
December 20, 2013
Best movie seen with my best mentor....ever...Eileen Yellin! :D
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