Berlin & Beyond Film Festival 2011: The Sandman Review & Trailer

Benno has a sand problem

I have come to hate movies that people describe as quirky. They tend to be completely thoughtless and finish with uninspired, uplifting endings. I can say with great pleasure that The Sandman is an inspired, original film and everything a quirky movie should be.

“I am losing sand,” our protagonist, Benno, says because he is, quite literally, losing sand. For the longest time he was trying to ignore it but it has now become a major problem. Every time he dips his sleeve or moves his pant leg sand trickles out. He is at risk of losing his job, his apartment is a complete mess, and the only people he can turn to for help are a TV psychic and the barista he despises for practicing for her one person orchestra directly below his apartment. Benno is, by almost all definitions, a complete ass but now, up to his neck in sand, he is going to have to either change or manipulate people into helping him.

What makes The Sandman stand above other quirky films is that writer/director Peter Luisi pulled no punches when it came to the personality of the main character, Benno, who is by all measures extremely unlikable. He is unrelentingly cruel to everyone around  him and shows no signs of remorse. Even when his life starts to fall apart and he is forced to turn to others for help, he still goes out of his way to ruin the day of his least favorite barista. This onslaught of cruelty gives the film a quirky yet not pathetically cheesy feel that was surprisingly refreshing. I found my self laughing at both Benno’s predicament and his insensitivity to others. The Sandman is one of the better comedies I have seen this year and, although this film isn’t  by any means a classic, it’s still better than what you’re going to see at your local megaplex.

Showtimes for The Sandman:

Tuesday, October 25 at 8:30pm (Castro Theatre, San Francisco)

Saturday, October 29 at 1:00pm (Camera 12 Cinemas, San Jose)

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Categories: Reviews

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