Benny's Video

"Weak"

Benny's Video Review


It's long been a staple of psychological profiling and often debated furiously, but the assumption that violent movies actually make people violent has some merit. How could it not, to some degree? I can remember very clearly stepping out of Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles in high school and hoping, praying, that someone would try to jump me on the way back to my car so I could get into some sort of kung fu fight. Sure, it would have been geeky, spastic kung fu, and, sure, I would have been beaten senseless, but I was just so pumped up I would've taken on Jet Li. The question isn't does violence inspire violence. The question is: To what extent? Where does that influence end?

We're bombarded almost daily with disturbing news snippets about teens run amok, filming their attacks gloatingly and enjoying them at parties. Forget Girls Gone Wild, nowadays it's Teens Gone Wilding. Is this the end result of a violent movie culture? Bad parenting? Terrible genetics? All of the above? If I watched Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles enough times (I know, I know, it's a PG movie with puppets, but still...) would I be transformed into the sociopathic killer at the heart of Michael Haneke's Benny's Video?

Haneke, the incredibly gifted filmmaker who wowed audiences with The Piano Teacher and Caché, might say yes. And while it isn't surprising that Haneke condemns Hollywood and horror movies for dulling the sense of children who watch violent movies, the casual, almost hackneyed, mode in which he makes his argument is.

Benny's Video is the second film in Haneke's "Glaciation Trilogy", so called for the "emotional glaciation" of humanity explored in the films. (The first is The Seventh Continent (1989).) The film follows the slow but inevitable trajectory of violence in the life of Benny (Arno Frisch), an alienated but bright kid obsessed with violent images. He watches gory horror films in his bedroom, left to his own devices by parents who pride themselves on making sure he has his freedom. Benny's most prized clip is the slaughter of a pig that he filmed himself. Benny watches it repeatedly, playing it in slow motion, studying the pixels of violent death. He meets a girl at the local video store and invites her back to his place and shows her some of his films including the pig killing. He shows her the weapon used to kill the pig (he's smuggled it home) and then, with the camera trained on the girl, he kills her. Without any emotional response, Benny watches the murder of the girl repetitively, robotically. His parents then fret about how to cover it up.

The message here is simple and the moral couldn't be any plainer. And that's the problem with Benny's Video. For Haneke no explanation is needed, Benny has been turned into a sociopath by his consumption of violent images and his parent's non-disciplinary approach to rearing him. It's black and white. The audience cannot come to any other conclusion. Haneke has decided for us. Fittingly, we are also never given insight into Benny. He remains a machine, remote and inert. And in the end, with a character that repellent and a message so heavy handed, there is no need to commit ourselves to this bitter, merciless film.



Benny's Video

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 11th February 1993

Production compaines: Wega Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Bernard Lang

Starring: as Benny, as Mutter, as Vater, Ingrid Stassner as Mädchen

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.