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36 Reviews
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of Belgian cinema, and I'm not joking!
Anyone asked to name a classic of Belgian cinema can simply point to this film, a production all the more remarkable for its bargain basement provenance. Made by three film students with a budget which makes shoestrings look like a luxury, "Man Bites Dog" ("C'est arrivé près de chez vous") is proof that making a memorable movie depends more on talent and a...
Published on 8 May 2005 by Budge Burgess

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A day in the life of a serial killer...
A sort of serial killing This Is Spinal Tap without the jokes, as a satire Remy Belvaux, Andre Bonzel and Benoit Poelvoorde's Man Bites Dog just isn't very funny. The film is more a stylistic exercise and intellectual essay on cinema's relationship with violence, and as such is open to endless debate and reinterpretation.

The film follows the exploits of the...
Published on 5 Dec 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a bunch of film students...., 9 Sep 2009
By 
Kentspur (Er...Kent) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I am old enough to remember the utter outrage that this film provoked when it was released and also old enough to understand that such a reaction was exactly what these guys were hoping for. 'Man Bites Dog' is one of those films - like 'Baise Moi' and 'Henry: portrait of a serial killer' - that has a certain cachet; like some kind of snuff film. That's what they wanted; that's what they got. Bravo!

Actually it's a so-so French-language (though crucially Belgian) film that looks like it was made out of pocket money and seems to be sniggering the whole time. It is absurd. Not absurd in an Albert Camus 'life is absurd' kind of way - it doesn't have the discipline for such musings - just absurd in its set-up; a group of film-makers tracking a serial killer (who's not a proper serial killer; just someone who kills people all the time - a variant of the breed that does not exist.) Therefore, it's hard to take seriously any point it might be making about the nature of voyuerism and screen violence. Yes it pre-dated Big Brother and the X Factor, but so did Schwarzenegger in The Running Man; prescience does not equal quality.

The rape in it is not 'the most shocking rape ever committed to celluloid' - for that you need Tuesday Weld and Robert De Niro in 'Once Upon A Time In America; sexual violence played for laughs - though the amount of splatter poured onto the victim after she's murdered does probably constitute 'the least realistic murder victim ever committed to celluloid.'

In short, this is a silly film; condemned by the easily-offended; praised by the easily-impressed. It gets quite boring after a while; the lack of a narrative structure in a film which lacks any aesthetic interest will do that. Don't get me wrong. There are bits I like - such as the film crew covering the 'other' killer and - for some reason - the little monologue on architecture, which perfectly chimed with what I think - but, really, this is like Bugsy Malone, which Alan Parker made as a stunt to get noticed.

This is a bunch of film students messing about. The furore and reverence this thing provokes must have them giggling still.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic, 9 Feb 2004
By 
Josh MacNab (Tunbridge wells, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This film has a seriously dark side to it but at the same time it's highly amusing, I'm no sadist but this film is at its best when making humour and being grotesquely violent at the same time. The Rape scene is a very sobering picture as the preceeding scene was tinged with humour. Films that win Cannes are (debatably) 'different'. Look to Lars Von Trier for an example! I reckon this is good different and one of my favourite films.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique film that pushes back the boundaries, 1 July 2000
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
A black and white, pseudo fly on the wall documentary, with French dialogue following the weird antics of a man teetering somewhere beyond the edge of normality. That may sound like a description of "Mr Hulot's Holiday" but it also sums up "Man Bites Dog".
The film follows the exploits of Benoit, a serial killer. It is his vocation and he takes it seriously indeed. Serious, not just about killing individuals but about being a serial killer. He is aware of his filmers and, on occasion, plays up to the camera. We see him commit a number of gruesome killings and dispose of the bodies of his victims. Gradually, the film makers become dragged into his crimes and finally, they are fully fledged accomplices.
Some people have ascribed motivations and meanings to this film as being a comment on the way in which the media fixates on and lauds some violent criminals. I cannot agree with this. The film was made as a student project and with no expectation that it would be viewed outside its immediate academic environment. It is perhaps unconstrained by the expectation that it would be widely exhibited.
There is a lot of violence in this movie. Explicit, gratuitous and, on occasion, sexual. At the same time, there is a lot of, albeit very dark, humour. It is not for the squeamish or for the narrow minded and indeed, I could not really argue with anyone who found this film profoundly offensive. On the other hand, it does have something to say which can only be said in this way.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An example of the power of cinema, 18 Mar 2002
By A Customer
After watching this film you wonder first of all how it was ever made, and secondly how it was ever made by students. The contradictions that the film makes you feel can be overwhelming to many, but this as more recently "Fight Club" and "American History X" have done, remind you of what cinema is all about. It encourages the complexity of life on to the screen with the same harsh reality as we see iy in real life. Breifly what the film is is sort of a documentary of a serial killer. A man who on paper is a monster, who shows no remorse or respect for human life, yet somehow we like him, his humour and character are a joy to engage in. For those desensitised by modern cinema, keep away, but for those who can remember what attracted it to us in the first place, WATCH THIS FILM, trust me, you will never forget it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but very bad., 30 April 2002
By A Customer
A masterpiece, and from film students. credit to them.it would be better if i spoke fluent french and didn't loath sub-titles. it was actually funny, in a strange kind of way, until that one scene that reminds you that you shouldn't even be smiling while watching it. dark, sick and twisted. smashing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars maybe good but maybe bad..., 17 Sep 2008
I think this story is one of the most peculiar I have ever seen!! I cannot decide whether I like it and think of it as a masterpeice in film-making or a pile of garbage that was awfully acted!! The concept of the film with a crew folowing a pleasent and friendly serial killer around as he commits his awful crimes is a shocking but unexperienced style of filming that I have never seen before. It's certainly an arty film and I would recommend to see it but I would not like to force my judgement on you about this film because as I said I cannot work out its true place in my film collection just yet.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better in French, 9 Oct 2006
By 
Nathalie MARTIN (Belgique) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is something about Belgian humour that is called "second degré", which means that one should not take things literally. This is exactly what this movie is about. From situations that could be real, the authors took the extra step to make them totally surreal. Watch it with perspective, and you might even enjoy it. Of course my opinion is biased; after all, i am Belgian, hence supportive. Probably very used to "second degré" jokes and humour too. And it definitely does help when you do not depend on subtitles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 31 Mar 2014
By 
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When I first saw this I wondered if it was real as the acting is so good it looks like a genuine documentary about a guy killing people in different way whilst being filmed by a documentary crew. The most shocking scene for me was how he kills a pensioner in her own apartment and the way he disposes of the bodies. You will despise him by the end of the film. Showed it to someone else who said it was the most disturbing thing they had ever witnessed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant little Belgian., 25 April 2013
By 
Mr. P. Johnson "Pete Johnson" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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Years before the common theme of `fly on the wall' film-making became popular, this 1992 film from Belgium came as a sharp satire on the whole idea of reality TV, and documentary films.
A film crew decide to shadow the `work' of a mundane serial killer. They go everywhere with him, and film his ramblings, as well as his frequent, and often very violent murders. Their involvement with him begins to spiral out of control, as they sink ever deeper into his dark world.
This is not a comfortable subject, nor is it filmed sympathetically. However, as an idea, and as the film shows, it just works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 10 April 2013
I'm a sucker for films like this, probably because I'm a latent gorehound. But, much like Funny Games and Martyrs, this is a film that uses the most controversial of cinematic tools, violence, to make an ultimately important and philosophical point, and for that I respect this film immensely.

It is also a gruelling film, and one that subjects its viewers to all manner of nasties such as a very in-your-face gang-rape, realistic looking shootings, innards and casual racism. However, for those with a strong stomach, this film is actually a very developed satire (although there will be a point where you stop laughing) on the nature of news reporting, the media, and the morbid public fixation with violence. The plot, that a documentary gang stumped for a subject stumble across a charming serial killer and focus their attentions on him, is merely a springboard for the ideas.

And to the naysayers, yes, the violence is necessary, because real-life violence is shocking and people are obsessed with it, and so the violence in this film is shocking as well. The violence brings the conviction of the message.

Benoit Poolvorde puts in an excellent performance as, basically, pure evil; his killer Ben is an abject exercise in needless sadism and a charming facade masking a horrible truth(ála Hannibal Lecter).

All in all, for those who can take it, this is a very sharp film, guiltily laugh-out-loud hilarious, and one that is not easily forgotten. It would make a great triple bill with the aforementioned Funny Games and Martyrs.
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Man Bites Dog [DVD]
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