Ahhh video games. As an avid gamer who has spent most of his life in front of the computer playing video games, this movie really touched me. I felt exactly like Ben, and in regards with his life and mine, what saved me were even harder circumstances that broke me in the opposite direction (if we can talk about directions in this sense). Both movies and video games can be viewed as means to escape reality, but I would like to put forth a bolder statement: they can be also used to run tests and determine best course of action. The fact that sometimes you are passive in these experiments (movies) or you sometimes have limited control (video games) really doesn’t matter. This Belgian flick deals with the hardships of one teenager and as you probably guessed, his name is Ben. Constantly bullied and teased in school, he escapes to a different reality, a virtual reality of the game Archlord (this game is an obvious copy of World Of Warcraft, but it actually exists in the real world). There, in the virtual world, he is a mighty warrior fighting for justice. There no one can oppose his skills. But then, he met a girl on-line.
Dealing with teen alienation and bulling this movie is trying to point out that these are real problems in the todays society. It is based on a true event, where a 17-year-old kid jumped off the medieval castle in Ghent and killed himself. Interesting to gamers and outcasts this movie is a bit hard to watch, but those who are willing will be greatly rewarded. Also check out documentary Second Skin about players of Wow. Enjoy.
Director: Nic Balthazar
Cast: Marijke Pinoy, Greg Timmermans, Cesar De Sutter, Gilles De Schrijver
Fun Stuff: Cesar De Sutter, the little boy who plays Ben’s little brother, is in fact the youngest son of Marijke Pinoy, the woman who plays Ben’s mother. On top of that, he has a mild form of autism. The MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) in the movie is the real life game, Archlord.