Beginning my second viewing of this in a blurred duration of years, this is a film I’m more eager to write about than revisit it, per se.
Class and financial affluence influence a great amount of what occurs throughout Benny’s Video; It contrasts nature versus nurture in a very macabre manner.
With the protagonist being a reclusive, albeit not all that socially impaired cinephile with an abundance of capital at his disposal, the notion of his reality being just as artificial as the very films he obsesses upon is something executed effectively by means of camera work, ironically enough.
The editing of the feature as a whole is reminiscent of a Babushka doll of television screens and camera recordings compiled under a lens nobody sees – this is something often glossed over by reactionary critics.
Presenting the church and other religious institutions as an insular sect on par with whatever is expected of the Freemasons, (except that even children are in attendance of the former – without even needing to apply) is something a single scene of Benny’s Videos touched upon in a succinctly penetrative manner.
The unyielding argument of media influencing criminality is one taken to extraordinary measures here, illustrating that it is not so much the content, but the most abnormal audiences of such media that take such movies to heart; and stop the beating of others…
The younger villain’s desensitization to death and murder comes in multiple forms; with Benny witnessing lively pigs being executed – in their physical presence -just going to show the futility of pinpointing an exact cause for violent psychopathy and the absurdity of placing a gag upon creative/journalistic freedom.
Benny’s motives were not all that clear during my first viewing, but lying to his victim in regard to not having a sister demonstrates the reconnaissance he conducted before his murder from the very beginning – this film also drives home the role of parental alienation influencing mental states such as the ones exhibited here.
There’s a lot omitted prior to the onset of what occurs before and after the film’s run-course. Whilst your instant reaction to his murder may be misguidedly regarding it as impulsive/accidental, the way in which he literally caters to his victim, (through acknowledging her lower socioeconomic status). Observing his victim repeatedly lingering outside the video store, rather than within it, goes to show by what means he made such a deduction – demonstrating the work of a prodigious social engineer, considering his age.
This is not something to be commended, though and in the realm of reality, this is something that needs to be accounted for by parents and peers alike, whom often place little value on the malevolent capabilities of one so young. This is all too evident in how Benny brandishes his materialism to his victim, who places little to no value on it.
A lot of things in this movie are oriented around or linked to objectification in differing forms. Benny’s disinterest/dismal of the potential friendship this girl had to offer him is almost tragic.
Benny’s Video to some extent presents you with an individual that was not influenced by movies, but studied them prior to acting out. These features are not so much emulation as they are motivation/technique for him.
The way in which he gave his victim a chance to kill him using his own bolt pistol prior to using it himself is both an expression of the lack of value Benny placed on his own life and a demonstration of him basking in just how successful his manipulation tactics were, in regard to manipulating his victim.
In taking the young girl’s life, it’s as if Benny equivocates it as a mercy killing upon the bolt pistol not killing her instantly – sympathetically reacting to the lack of immediacy; where her demise was concerned. It’s almost as if he regarded the death of the girl as that of a farm animal.
The way in which Benny resents witnessing human suffering in reality and detaches himself from it speaks for his slight humanity, making him more of a calculated sociopath than he is that of your average impulsive psychopath.
The unfortunate death of the girl involved is a double-edged sword with his cinematic grand finale being derivative of the aforementioned discontentment plaguing his life, or it could be (in the most warped of senses) preventative of him being a serial killer of continuity and sophistication, the fact that he made a situational alibi demonstrated his regret and a new-found motive for self-preservation, however, so it’s unlikely representative of Benny’s self-sacrificial nature.
Sexuality is another factor to consider here, with that not being a single prerogative in the presence of his victim; and considering he was young and renting adult movies from a video store, the notion of privilege is once again brought into the equation; however, his cigarette consumption makes his alienated state the most logical conclusion.
Later in the film, you grasp why the lead is so disillusioned with humanity and ambivalent to his parents. Loss of life being depicted so statistically on the news and failures within the educational system are also portrayed poignantly – surmising a whole plethora of causes influencing a killer’s consciousness – not just artistic expression.
Ruining Netflix and chill since 2011,