Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rare Flix: Benny's Video

If the only Austrian I know isn't Reviewing Movies right now, then I'll just have to pick up the slack.  Today's Film is Benny's Video, the 1992 Feature that came before Michael Heneke's more famous Film.  That Movie- Funny Games.  Admittedly, more people probably know the English Language Remake- also Directed by Haneke- more than the 1997 Original.  Where did he get to that point?  Let's see if the answer lies in this Film.  It tells the tale of Benny, a messed-up kid who has no emotional connection the violence he sees.  This leads him to make a really bad decision that will affect the rest of his life.  In the aftermath of said incident, how will those around him cope and try to deal with the situation?  This is arty and bleak stuff, so count your blessings, Bob.  That doesn't mean that you won't get something like this in July- hell, there are plenty of Michael Haneke Films out there.  To find out what happens in this odd Film, read on...
The Film begins with footage of a pig being led out and killed on a Farm.  Some Animals were harmed in the making of this Film...even if it was to make bacon.
This is a Video watched by Benny, our Main Character.  He has this weird, detached demeanor and is clearly not right in the head.  Need proof?
He watches The Toxic Avenger!

On a more serious note, kudos to Troma for getting your footage in an Art Film...
He takes a girl home with him and things escalate to him using the cattle gun on her and eventually killing her.  We see what we see via video feed, since this Film is subtle!
He covers up his crime, but is clearly bothered by it.  Case in point: he shaves his head.

Wait- does that mean that Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite killed a girl?!?
He eventually tells them what he did and their to think about how this will affect him.  Parents of the Year!
They ship him and the Mother off on Vacation overseas while the investigation starts (since Haneke wanted a Vacation too?), but he doesn't stop being a creepy kid even then.
They are convinced that nobody will find out now, especially since they chopped up the body.  It is only at that point that the obvious question is raised...
Despite having a clear out, Benny eventually turns himself (and presumably his Parents) in.  Since this Film is super-subtle, they show it to us via more Monitors.  The End.
Bleak stuff.  This is...kind of interesting.  The idea of the Film- people can get desensitized to violence via the Media is interesting.  Mind you, it would go on to be used over the years to attack whatever pet project Censors hate- whether it is Horror Films, Pro Wrestling or Cartoons.  It isn't like there is NO substance to it...just not what people make it out to be.  As far as the Film goes, it does go beyond just that to show violence in Benny's life that would lead him to do bad things.  He's clearly not the 'everyman' that some might make him out to be.  Now here's the big thing- the Pacing.  I can understand how Films can want to be slow-paced and build up.  That's fine.  In this case, it is slow-paced and doesn't really build up to much.  Is your anti-climax supposed to be better, Haneke?  It's not.  It isn't a bad Film per se- just not a very interesting one.  There are hints of interesting things hidden throughout, so I'd recommend it to fans of Haneke that may have missed it.  If you aren't a fan of his, watch a more accessible Film and go from there.  Speaking of Films, they snuck in a deceptive ad for Stephen King's Graveyard Shift...
Next up, I cover a Film with a familiar Title.  Will this one feel like an Oscar Winner too?  Stay tuned...

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