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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 08.22.13] Sweden drama

A number of years ago author turned director Nic Balthazar made his debut behind the camera with an adaptation of his novel "Nothing Was All He Said" which was based on the true story of an autistic boy who committed suicide because of bullying. The novel was a huge hit, spawning all sorts of adaptations including musicals and Ben X (trailer) followed suit, garnering a number of awards and being selected as Belgium's Oscar entry. It looks like the book still has legs as now director Erik Leijonborg is taking a stab at the material.

IRL stars Valter Skarsgard, the youngest of the Skarsgard clan to make the jump into film, as Elias the bullied kid who finds escape from his real life troubles in the game world of "The Secret World."

Leijonborg made his name in TV with the immensely successful "Brotherhood" series and though the young Skarsgard has been appearing in films and television for a number of years, IRL will be his first leading role.

The material is certainly timely and the trailer, sadly not available with English subtitles, looks promising. It's been a number of years since I've seen Ben X but it looks like Leijonborg has taken some cues from Balthazar, mixing real life drama with the game world; it'll be interesting to see if this adaptation is as good as the first.

IRL opens in Sweden on October 25. We'll keep an eye out for an international release.

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