Movies had been keeping me company all weekends that I embrace sobriety. So the Ben Barnes adoration continues with Stardust and Bigga Than Ben. He had a minimal role in Stardust as Young Dunstan but I enjoyed the movie and it’s now listen on my favorites. I’ll look for a copy of the book and a decent DVD for collections sake. Had I known that movies would be a good way to get myself into reading, I should’ve stuffed my face with ’em long before. By before, I mean college when most of my days were wasted getting wasted.
Director: Suzie Halewood
Stars: Ben Barnes, Andrey Chadov and Ovidiu Matesan
Bigga than Ben is based on Bol’she Ben, the best-selling diaries of Pavel Tetersky and Sergei Sakin. It is a dark comedy about two self-confessed ‘pieces of Moscow scum’, Cobakka (Ben Barnes) and Spiker (Andrei Chadov), who came to London to earn money. It’s not long before they realize that, legally, they aren’t going to get very far so they seek the help of Artash (Ovidiu Matesan), who taught them how to shoplift, rip off banks, joyride on the tube and turn mobile phones into crack. After a while, life begins to turn sour. Spiker badly misses his girlfriend back in Moscow and slips into serious addiction. Artash spent their money and Cobakka finds himself forced into making some life-changing decisions.
When they went to London, or foggy Albion as they call it, Cobakka and Spiker couldn’t care less about challenging stereotypes about immigrants but they ended up doing it. Despite their desperate situation, they didn’t want to be referred to as refugees. The two admitted that in Russia they are racist, but after doing some dirty jobs and getting stoned with people of all nationalities, their minds seem to broaden. Cobakka who narrates the events seemed to have learned much from all their misadventures.
The whole movie is hilarious and my favorite parts are (1) when Cobakka and Spiker struggles to deal with an employer who speaks in a different language (2) when Cobakka tried hitting on a girl in a bookstore (3) when Cobakka gets mad at a park and there were three homeless men just staring at him.
There is this scene, which was inserted out of the blue, where Artash demonstrates how to cook heroin. I laughed out loud but I don’t think it’s funny, in real life. It was only included to emphasize how Spiker succumbed to drugs.
The friends’ experiences in surviving London was served in an angle where the audience will be thorn between sympathizing and laughing at them. The situations presented are so real. It’s good that the film managed to maintain its realistic roots, and in a fresh and funny way.
Bigga Than Ben presents a rough guide on how not to make it big in London. Also, it shows the non-glamorous sides of London and defies the stereotype that anyone can get rich in Britain by ripping off the system.
Both Barnes and Chadov gave marvelous performances. I am amazed on how Ben Barnes could change accents, although his Brit accent’s still obvious. Slow clap for the director, scriptwriters and actors!