Apt Pupil

1998

Action / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller

41
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 57%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 32157

Synopsis


Uploaded By: OTTO
Downloaded 28,276 times
October 06, 2011 at 04:42 PM

Director

Cast

Ian McKellen as Kurt Dussander
David Schwimmer as Edward French
Elias Koteas as Archie
720p.BLU
751.44 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 0 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Screen_Blitz 5 / 10

Ian McKellen may carry a powerful performance, but it does little to make up the tensionless atmosphere

Stephen King's novella 'Apt Pupil' carries an interesting enough concept to grip the attention of readers who hold significant curiosity about the infamous Holocaust that took place during World War II at the hands of the German Nazi Party. It is understandable why director Bryan Singer would make this choice for a cinematic entry. After all, it is hard to exclude which literary works by King make a good, if not overtly promising qualification for a cinematic affair. The problem here however, is that Singer's rendition of King's novella doesn't quite capture the atmosphere and tension to make it a vehicle for genuine thrills, nor does it provides sufficient social commentary on Nazism or the related subject matter to fuel the atmosphere of its brooding story. With only a darkly engrossing performance by Ian McKellen playing the primary antagonist to support it, the film at least carries its absorbing subject material. But sadly it is not enough to save this film from the lack of tension and thrills it pervades. Set in 1984, this film follows 16-year old Todd Bowden (played by Brad Renfro) who crosses ties with an elderly man named Kurt Dussander (played by Ian McKellen) who he learns to be a former member of the Nazi Regime during WWII. The two form a mixed bond through Dussander's stories tackling his experience as a Nazi during the Holocaust. But as Todd fascination with Dussander grow stronger, he exhibits a gradual change in his normally friendly personality.

Any film dealing with a topic such as the Holocaust often scores for a deeply somber ride, even when the plot doesn't actually take place in time period or locations of the atrocious events. As this film focuses on a modern day tale dealing with a young high school teen and his relationship wit a former Nazi member rather than the grisliness of the Holocaust, it is clear that the plot holds potential at providing an intelligent, tension-fueled story. Unfortunately, this film not only falls short of effort to accomplish an captivating story, but runs low on thrills and tension to make a gripping experience. In other words, the film leaves almost no room for crucial social commentary on Nazism and the atrocities of the mass extermination of Jews. The story proceeds as the main character's forms a tight relationship with Ian McKellen's character who indulges him in his past experience in mass slaughter of Jews under the Nazi regime. In the process, the young man experiences an unpleasant change in his personality including his alienation from his friends and family. It's an interesting idea, but it never quite lands. And the attempts at providing any sort of tension or suspense come to feeble results. Though Ian McKellen may provide an enthralling portrayal as the man with an eerily dark past, it does very little to redeem the film from the tensionless environment it proceeds. There are some thoroughly shocking moments such as an attempted slaughter of a cat and a gruesome murder of a man trapped in basement, but nothing that lights fire on its brooding psychological atmosphere. In the end, it makes you wonder what exactly director Bryan Singer was trying to get across when making this film.

Apt Pupil is a disappointing psychological thriller that sheds light on a compelling concept but squanders it on a dull, tensionless atmosphere with little substance to be offered. In short, it carries strong performances by Ian McKellan and his young co-star Brad Renfro, but the final product overall is half-baked thriller that is almost instantly forgettable after you reach the end credits.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

a little creepy

Top high school student Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) uncovers his elderly neighbor Arthur Denker (Ian McKellen)'s secret identity as Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander. Instead of turning Dussander in, Todd blackmails him to recount stories of the Holocaust and his inner Nazi is revived. Todd's grades go down and his interest in life suffers. School counselor Edward French calls him in and Dussander pretends to be his grandfather. Dussander turns the tables on him claiming to pull him down with him if the authorities are called in. Todd starts to study again and go out with friends. Then Dussander raises the stakes.

This film based on Stephen King's story has its creepiness. Renfro and McKellen do their roles well. After McKellen goose-step in the Nazi uniform, I expected him to convince Todd to his Nazi ways. It would be great for him to persuade Todd to hate. I don't buy his threat to pull him down with him because the situation is easily explained. It makes Todd a lot dumber than I want him to be. Instead of threats, it would be more compelling to lure him by reasoning. As soon as Dussander made the threat, any reasonable kid would go to the cops to spin the story his way and preempt any story that Dussander would tell. It's creepy but I never bought all the way in on this movie.

Reviewed by Python Hyena 3 / 10

Unbelievable Lesson.

Apt. Pupil (1998): Dir: Bryan Singer / Cast: Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, David Schwimmer, Bruce Davison, Elias Koteas: Film contains one alarming scene where a kid orders a Nazi to uniform himself and march until tension builds to a halt. The kid is the Apt. pupil and the lesson is control but what does he hope to accomplish? He shows up on the Nazi's doorstep and blackmails with supposed files. Eventually the Nazi tries to roast a cat in the oven while the kid mashes a broken winged pigeon with a basketball. Chilling work by director Bryan Singer who also made The Usual Suspect. Violent outcome with pointless scenes such as the kid's failed grades and the Nazi poising as his grandfather. Then a begger lands in his basement with a knife in his back. With the Nazi's heart failure, the kid bludgeons the begger with a shovel. Ian McKellen is strong as the Nazi who attempts to gain control over this situation only to run into greater conflicts. Brad Renfro is unreadable as the deranged kid who obviously lacks proper discipline. David Schwimmer is miscast as the principal who is also subjected to blackmail. Bruce Davison is cardboard as Renfro's father who will not likely receive any Father of the Year award. Elias Koteas plays a homeless guy subjected to murder and a cover-up. The theme is control, which eluded the screenwriter. Score: 3 ½ / 10

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