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Benny's Video

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Austria, Switzerland
·
1993

1h 50m

Director Michael Haneke
Starring Arno Frisch, Angela Winkler, Ulrich Mühe, Ingrid Stassner
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
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Benny is a 14-year-old video enthusiast who is so consumed by his obsession with violent films that he can no longer relate to the real world. But when he decides to make one of his own and show it to his well-to-do parents, things take a violent turn.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

Time Out London by

An unsettling if not entirely successful social-cum-psychological drama. As a study in the complex relationship between violence and cinema, it's an unsensational alternative to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Man Bites Dog.
63

San Francisco Chronicle by Edward Guthmann

Haneke directs Benny's Video in a cool, dispassionate style that matches the austerity of his subject, but keeps us at a distinct remove. And even though he introduces a faintly optimistic note in the film's last moments -- a hint at possible redemption -- his film is mostly a grim, downbeat experience. [01 Apr 1994, p.C3]
38

Slant Magazine by Eric Henderson

Benny’s Video is a smug, contemptuous, passive-aggressive attack on the dehumanizing effects of media, without even the common decency to offer shrill sensationalism to punch up its subsequently feckless, reactionary, pomo assertions.
50

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Jay Scott

Documentaries show us what can be seen; fiction features, to qualify as art, should visualize for us the usually unseen. Benny's Video, in which the thought processes of the characters are never delivered to the camera, is all surface. Its implicit claim is that by doing nothing, it is doing everything. But there are times, and this is one of them, when less is merely less. [27 Mar 1993]
75

The Seattle Times by John Hartl

Haneke carefully and ingeniously presents the boy's point of view without sympathizing with him. He then does the same with his horrified but protective parents. [18 Nov 1994, p.G35]
60

Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Overly familiar in its themes, though still somewhat potent in its depiction of an alienated 14-year-old boy from a well-to-do family who's preoccupied with video technology and winds up commiting a monstrous act. In some ways, the portrait of his parents is even more chilling.
83

The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Haneke's schoolmarm tendencies come to the surface in Benny's Video, which implicates the media for desensitizing people to violence.
70

The New York Times by Stephen Holden

What gives the film a chilly authenticity is the creepy performance of Arno Frisch in the title role. Cool and unsmiling, with a dark inscrutable gaze, his Benny is the apotheosis of what the author George W. S. Trow has called the cold child, or an unfeeling young person whose detachment and short attention span have been molded by television.

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