Benji, leader of an eco-terrorist faction called “The East” is the kind of person who is never dissuaded from doing something once he has made up his mind. A great quality in a leader. I admire his workmanship, “we have a lot of work to do” he says. A bum, a transient who finds purpose in harassing big business. His group eats trash, sleeps in an abandoned derelict house in the woods, conduct odd rituals around bathing and eating. In their basement is a set of computers and equipment for communicating with other factions around the globe. At the end of the movie, Benji needs to get out of the country, and drives to a certain truck stop and signals to a “trucker” by flashing his lights. He is obviously well connected, and knows how to escape cleanly. He probably knows where to get fake I.D.’s and money never seems to be a problem for him. He has beat the system, can go anywhere, do anything, but is not content to sit on a beach in Malibu sipping a Mai Tai. He is compelled to change the world, and lives in relative squalor. And that is why there is a story attached to him.
There is a bit of a Crake connection here. Crake is a genius of science who later becomes charismatic, controlling, manipulative. But he wasn’t always the leader type. He grew up shy and awkward. Benji is not technically savvy but is a genius at surviving and staying one step ahead of the Feds. He is a leader, but unlike Crake lets his followers make their own decisions. In a sense he is selfless, talking to him is like talking to a Smart Mirror, you end up finding yourself, in him. You ask him a question and he finds a way of getting you to answer it yourself. This proves far more effective than if he had provided his own opinion. At times this makes him sort of invisible, Nowhere Man, a mystery.