Benny's Video 1905 NR

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(11) IMDb 7.2/10

The bored 14 year old son of an affluent Viennese family escapes from his mundane life into the titillating solitude of his video-equipped bedroom, where he relives a number of shockingly violent acts on playback. Without lapsing into didacticism or waiving his own complicity, Haneke makes one of cinema's most powerful investigations into the nature of our mediated world and the seemingly insatiable appetite for bloodly spectacle.

Starring:
Angela Winkler, Arno Frisch
Runtime:
1 hour 46 minutes

Benny's Video

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I suspect it has to do with money more than protection.
Carlos Munoz
He presents us with images, often disturbing, and asks us to interpret them and in the process create our own film.
Zarathustra
In fact, its hard to find one, and I think that is what makes this film so brilliant.
Andrew Ellington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amy Lynn VINE VOICE on November 13, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Benny's Video is a unique early work by Michael Haneke. The star of the film is a young Arno Frisch...the same boy who coincidentally went on to play the lead role in his later work 'Funny Games.' Arno plays Benny, the 14 yr old apathetic child of 2 seemingly successful well off parents.

Benny has an obsession/fascination with videos and violence. He likes to visit the local video store. One day while browsing through some videos he spots a girl standing outside the store and ends up approaching her. He takes her home to show her his 'video' and then things get out of control.

Soon the parents end up accidentally discovering the extent of what happened on that video. They become conflicted. They weigh the options, discuss things and soon they come up with a plan... Seeing the parents deliberate over this decision about what to do with Benny and the victim was distressing. The question is.. What would you do if your son did what Benny did?...The realization and the twist at the end is scary. You find out what Benny is all about and what this kid is capable of even with his own flesh and blood and it's not what you think. This movie also shows the lengths parents may go to protect their child.. good or bad.

Also this movie seems to have had another meaning to it such as media having an impact on people's lives. Television, isolation and how violent images may effect someone. I think it was much more than that. The parents, desensitization, emotional emptyness, Benny himself and more. Also a point such as being aliented from the real world can possibly make one numb to it..

As far as violence or disturbing images I can't say I was overly shocked or suprised as to what happened in this movie because I already know Haneke's style.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Shriver on September 23, 2007
Format: DVD
BENNY'S VIDEO may be the key to what attitude, exactly, Michael Haneke is trying to elicit about voyeurism, a theme that often crops up his work. I think it is fair to say that all of Haneke's films are more about the audience watching them than about the story being watched. Here, we see to what degree a life can be mediated by lenses, viewfinders and monitors.

BENNY'S VIDEO is the story of a teenage boy whose sense of reality is so buffered by visual media that the act of killing someone ("to see what it's like, probably") functions to fill a void caused by seeing life only through lighted frames.

Benny, as played by Arno Frisch (who, five years later, would play one of the preppy young psychopaths of FUNNY GAMES), can't even be said clearly to be a disturbed young man. That's what is so unsettling about the movie: after bringing a young girl to his room and videotaping her, the video image of his crotch clearly shows that he had probably brought her there for the usual things unsupervised teenagers do. Events could just as easily have gone in that direction. But, tellingly, the girl is also so numbed by television that the killing is just as much her idea as it is Benny's. They both crave something real. Benny produces a butcher's gun, a sort of prod that fires .22 caliber bullets at close range; he boasts about stealing it and says that all the farmer had to say about its theft was that his family was lucky they didn't come a week later or they would have gone home without any ham. The prod is passed; dares and taunts go back and forth . . . and then something very real does happen.

I once saw Bob Keeshan ("Captain Kangaroo") interviewed by Johnny Carson, when he recounted an experience from his childhood in the 1930's.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carl Manes on May 3, 2010
Format: DVD
If one thing can be said about the films of Michael Haneke, it is that they are daring. BENNY'S VIDEO follows a disenchanted youth as he obsesses over violent films, engages in delinquent activities at school, and surveys the neighborhood through the lens of his camera. After he welcomes a young girl in to his voyeuristic world and shows her his prize possession--a video of a pig being shot to death--he turns the gun on her and murders her in cold blood, all while he films the entire event. His parents uncover the tape, and must decide what to do with their sociopathic son. Arno Frisch is captivating as the lead, perfectly depicting an adolescent devoid of all emotion and moral obligation that has been desensitized by the world around him. As is the case in each of Haneke's other offerings, BENNY'S VIDEO is artfully shot, with a cold and detached filming style that is reflective of his characters. He does not invite the viewer to empathize with any of the characters or their actions. He also robs the viewer of any score, thereby removing the safety net that separates fact from fiction (an underlying theme that is replayed constantly in the film).

Outside of the jarring murder, the most frightening aspect of the film is Benny's parents' readiness to cover up their son's mistakes in order to wash their own hands clean of their lack of responsibility and neglect. As usual, Haneke points the finger at his audience, making bold statements about the environmental effects that shape emotionless killers. His condemnation of media violence and parental control cannot be viewed without considering the hypocritical nature of his claims when the film, itself, relies on shocking violence to prove its own point. This same duality would be extended in his later (and superior) effort FUNNY GAMES.
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