Directed by william stancik/ Reviewed by Biplab Das
Benjamin is a psychological crime thriller that primarily deals with the psychological aspect of crime and criminology. The entire film is a conversation between a detective and the convict. As a short film, it catches the attention of the audiences who like to understand the mindset of a criminal. Apart from the interrogation there are no dramatic elements in the film. However, this doesn’t demean the idea of the film. If you love criminology then you will surely love this film. Though I mentioned this film as a psychological crime thriller but you will not find any action in the film.
Audience who loves criminology will surely love this film. However, audiences need to be matured enough. A person who only loves action movies will surely find the film not attractive. The film has some great dialogue. The entire film is an amalgamation of conversation. If you listen to the conversation carefully, you will understand what the film is all about. Interestingly, the use of mask will certainly capture the attention of the audience.
The director of the film, William Stancik, has done an exceedingly good work by making a film on criminal psychology. He is also the writer and producer of this short. In this film, he has surpassed his previous works like American Licorice, Ed Gein in Hollywood, & Hegel Road. Joe Zumba who played the role of Detective Mannex looks awesomely cool in the film. A large portion of the film revolves around him. Alex Wood looks interesting in his Detective Bunny avatar. His attire is really interesting but raises the question – was it necessary? J. Gabriel Wagner as Benjamin posses another interesting character whose face audience can’t see.
Although the film is a psychological thriller but the film also has comedy element. The plot of the film is really simple- a hard-boiled detective and his partner in a bunny suit interrogate a suspect in a series of crimes at a sleep-away camp. The entire film is an interrogation between the convict and the detective. There are some funny dialogues during the conversations. However, the film starts with a manhunt where the detective-duo is on a search for Benjamin, the criminal. The initial visuals proved that it would be slapstick comedy. There are instances in which the film starts to get serious note. This duality gives the film a unique blend.
This is a short film and people will watch it at least couple of times, because the film itself demands it. The film is really well-shot and edited. The film doesn’t reveal who Benjamin is and his purposes. This is one of the funniest parts in the film. He always hides behind the masks. His masks are also very funny. The ending of the film is also open-ended which means that audience has the option to interpret the film accordingly. The location along with the cinematography makes the film unique.
I give 3 stars out of 5 to Benjamin. It would have been better if the film have avoided the subtle comedy scenes. But this doesn’t mean the film is bad. The conversation between the detective and Benjamin is really nice. The costume of the film is another interesting part. To sum up, Benjamin is more fun than psychology of a criminal.