Man Bites Dog (C'est arrivé près de chez vous) Made in: Belgium Language: French Director: Remy Belvaux, André Bonzel Starring: Benoît Poelvoorde, Remy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert Year: 1992
Synopsis: A small documentary film crew follows Benoît (Benoît Poelvoorde), a serial killer who truly enjoys what he does. Showing complete disregard for anyone other than himself, Benoît is unrepentant and unpredictable. He has a good relationship with his mother (Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert), and on the surface, appears to be an upbeat, affable guy.
Benoît talks about anything and everything, and prefers killing/robbing elderly people because it's more profitable (and easier) than snuffing out younger folks. He calmly explains his methods the way Martha Stewart might detail the best way to make a pie.
The three-person camera crew start out trying to document Benoît's killing sprees objectively, but soon find themselves becoming accomplices as they are drawn deeper into the killer's twisted world.
Remarks: I really did not like this movie. However, as a scathing commentary on violence and the media's morbid fascination with the subject, Man Bites Dog gets its point across very effectively.
Filmed in black and white, this raw-looking picture is shocking, grotesque, and graphic. It truly has the look and feel of an actual documentary even though it's a work of fiction.
While the film does not condone murder, it goes a step further to indict consumers of entertainment media as being partly responsible for the glorification/desensitizing of violence in Western culture. Benoît Poelvoorde's performance is very authentic as the venal killer, and the fact that this film is so difficult to watch is exactly the reason why it works.
I can't say I'd recommend this movie to anyone, regardless of whether or not you're a fan of foreign films. Man Bites Dog is a mockumentary full of incredibly violent and disturbing scenes, with murder scenes involving old people and children. That alone will rightfully turn off many.
Plus, our post 9/11 attitudes towards violence have given most of us a redefined worldview, which will make many of this film's messages seem unintentionally patronizing.