In Daxing, China, an internet addict wishes he could delete his real-world problems.
WEB JUNKIE (Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia). 76 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (May 30). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
The patients in the Daxing boot camp for internet addiction can be good for a laugh. The treatment facility near Beijing looks like a military-run juvenile detention centre. The locked-up teens are often seen breaking down in tears, heartbroken because they can't get their hands on a keyboard to play World Of Warcraft.
Web Junkie, a documentary that brings you along on their journeys, takes their addiction very seriously, the sadness of their situation stifling your laughter.
The title is a bit misleading, since the addicts are not into social media or reading lists on Buzzfeed. They're gamers, typically teenage boys so hooked on online role-playing that they wear diapers so bathroom breaks don't interfere with their next conquest.
China, the first country to declare internet addiction a clinical disorder, has built more than 400 of these rehabilitation camps, treating what Western psychiatrists might consider a pervasive symptom of depression.
The filmmakers are astute enough to consider the social conditions that nurture such addictions. These boys grew up as only children whose relationship with stern parents make the web a drug to remedy loneliness. But the film falters when an underdeveloped rehab success story is ushered in at the end like a quick fix designed to numb the pain.