Review: Webcam (2011)


Directed by: Marc van Uchelen | 77 minutes | comedy | Actors: Horace Cohen, Fabian Jansen, Angelique de Bruijne, Tara Baerveldt, Frieda Pittoors, John Buijsman

“Webcam”, shot entirely with the now ubiquitous webcam, is a digitized comedy. A film full of chaotic scenes, entrants and bouncers. The story is paper-thin: “This was the longest short film ever”, you might hear a viewer say afterwards. Still, “Webcam” has its charm; as a grin film with an everyday feeling and nice actors.

The bad luck of “Webcam” is its main character, Antoin (Horace Cohen). Just as interesting as a planting tree in Lelystad. The film is all about bringing Antoin to the woman, but nothing is better to understand than that he is single. Nondescript is a striking description. You will not catch him in any wise or funny remarks, his short, dozed body will make few head crazy (let alone run wild), and if you look Antoin in the eye, you probably suspect that there is nothing behind it. then thoughts about ICT problems. All this is communicated with a sense of understatement by Cohen’s seal gaze.

Fortunately, Antoin’s characteristic stupor is linked to a proverbial storm around him: “Webcam” comes to life through his parents, his neighbor (and only friend?) Rob, and Russian chat babe Natasha. “Webcam” has the same, well-known approach as the play “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand. That is, the only way Antoin can hold his own during a date or even internet chat is when he is prompted by friend Rob (Fabian Jansen). This approach does ensure that a certain Natasha (Tara Baerveldt) flies over from Russia “especially for Antoin”: a birthday present from Rob, who managed to arrange her personally via a paid chat site.

It doesn’t get any cozier than during Antoin’s birthday in this film. Rob brings not only Natasha, but also his wife Germa (Angelique de Bruijne) and even Antoine’s parents come up (Frieda Pittoors, John Buijsman). But when the dust clouds have cleared, it turns out that everyone is withdrawing to their computer. Natasha to make money, Rob to spend money, and Antoin because he just doesn’t seem to be able to do anything else. Until the end, the film manages to keep the (relationship) perils on the screen amusing, with many thanks to the ‘deadpan’ talents of the actors (Fabian Jansen and Angelique de Bruijne leading the way). For the rest, the film slowly bleeds to death. The novelty of the webcams is soon gone and as a gimmick it eventually gets boring. But the story itself in particular makes its way to the end in a time-consuming way, in which Antoine has to be dragged along like a reluctant child. You would almost think that Natasha deserves better. And Rob thinks that too.

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