A brilliantly concocted mindgame between a Nazi, a boy, and you. (by eo5)
This film is not for the light of heart or of mind. The story is about a boy who learns that a Nazi war criminal is living right in his metaphoric backyard. Obsessed with learning more than just what they teach you in school, the boy sets off on a journey to discover "How did it feel?" The writing, based on a novella by Stephen King, takes you through the minds of both the boy and the Nazi. It's a battle of wits with real people being the pawns. This movie will mess with your mind. Do not watch it if you aren't up to the challenge. My hat goes off to Brandon Boyce and Bryan <more>
Singer, the writer and director, respectively, who seem to have interwoven the story and the audience. Never have I witnessed such an excellent display of psychological warfare.
I know that there are some people who don't like this film for whatever reason, all I can say is that I think it's a superb film, and I don't think Bryan Singer has made a better then this, This includes Usual suspets and X-men .I thing I love anout this film is that it gets under your skin, which not every film can do, and the story as well. Ok it is unlikely that you will reconise someone from a 40 year old photo. It has to be said though that the story is excellent, and this is one of my favourite films.
It is about time someone produced a good movie. (by zac-14)
This is a psychological thriller indeed. Those who tend to like movies that have nice lovely ending or Jim Carrey slapstick will most likely not like this movie. Awesome.
A Character Study Illustrating How Nazi's Were Able to Assert Their Power (by Doc-134)
The only thing more frightening that having the Holocaust as part of our world's long history is to know that are human minds capable of creating and sustaining such an oppression. The real horror of Bryan Singer's adaptation of Stephen King's novella "Apt Pupil" lies in that we have this knowledge. We know that Adolf Hitler possessed the powers of immense manipulation and charisma. This has been so ingrained into our heads that I remember as a child knowing that Hitler was charismatic before I really knew what the term meant. This film is an exploration into the mind of <more>
a person who conceivably has many of the same manipulative characteristics. In the progression of the film, we slowly learn why.Before any images actually come on screen, we hear the voice of someone asking if the Holocaust occurred as a result of economic or social cultural reasons. Or was it in fact, human nature? We then realize that the monologue is being given by a school teacher in a social studies class. The principle character, Todd Bowden Brad Renfro , a member of this class and is fascinated with studying the Holocaust. He spends much time in the library reading books and newspaper articles on the subject. Just as the opening credits finish, the camera zooms in slowly to the eyes of a concentration camp leader. This is the first of many extreme close-up shots of eyes. This distance motif is incredibly effective. The eyes are the window to a man's soul and the psyche that "Apt Pupil" explores.One rainy night, while Todd is riding the bus, he sees a mysterious man, who he realizes is Kurt Dussander Ian McKellan , a Nazi war criminal and concentration camp leader who managed to escape from Germany years before. This is when we really begin to see Todd's disturbed mind. He is the kind of person who is so meticulous that he finds fourteen finger print matches of Dussander and builds a file that will be sent to the Israeli government if he doesn't agree to tell stories about the Holocaust that "they are too afraid to tell in school". It is now clear that Todd is not so fascinated with the Holocaust because he's racist the film makes no reference to him being racist . He admires the power, dedication and will behind the driving force of the Holocaust. He mimics this power in his blackmailing of Dussander.The scenes with Dussander explaining in explicit detail the acts that he performed in concentration camps are quite disturbing in themselves, but what is more disturbing is that Todd seems more detached than Kurt. Most of us would cringe in disgust if we were to sit and listen to the stories that Kurt tells. We get the impression that Todd is thrilled with the fact that he is able to control this man and make him relive his past.In the film's most harrowing scene, Todd brings Kurt an officer's uniform, similar to what he would have worn during the War years, and makes him march. Up until this point, we are led to believe that perhaps Kurt has had some time to develop remorse over the years for his haneous acts of brutality, but when Todd begins commanding him, Kurt fades to the same state of mind of his Nazi persona from the past and we see the man capable of ordering concentration camp personnel to gas hundreds of Jews. The scene is truly chilling and stands out as the most memorable in the film."Apt Pupil" is occasionally slow, but never boring. I, for one could not take my eyes off the screen for a second. The power struggles between Todd and Kurt are always intense. The sequence of events leads up to a horrifying scene with Todd and his guidance counselor David Schwimmer . Here, we learn of the lengths that Todd will take his manipulation. "You can't do that," the guidance counselor says. "You have no idea what I am capable of doing," replies Todd. This line of dialogue is very effective. We know from having seen the rest of the film that Todd is capable of quite a lot. While not as powerful or intense as Stephen King's novella, the film "Apt Pupil" gives us a creepy insight to the corruption of power and manipulation.**** out of ****
Apt Pupil is a movie of symbolism, it is a movie of metamorphosis, it is not a movie to be brushed off, taken lightly, nor is it to be watched if you want anything even remotely uplifting. It is a thoroughly depressing movie about corruption and the very root of evil. You'll find no plot summary here because you can scroll up slightly and find one. I can tell you Ian McKellen is one of the finest actors in the world and even solidifies that unlikely people like Brad Renfro and David Schwimmer can be incredible actors in their own rights. The movie poses several questions, almost none of <more>
which it answers and indeed might not have answers. It is, at it's core, about evil feeding into evil. The boy's evil reawakens the old man's evil, the old man's evil stokes the boy's evil and it continues to crescendo throughout coming to an incredible climax. A fascinating and thoroughly challenging movie.
This one is vaguely forgotten by now but had the potential to be a great cult film. The short story this was based on in one of my all-time favourites, so I appreciated that Ian McKellen and Brad Renfro remained faithful to the source material, the characters remain as they were. Dussander/Denker is an unsympathetic, bitter old man who gets his only joy from murdering hobos, and he's still the nice guy. Todd Bowden is evil, and does a very good job of that. Surprisingly the screenplay is an improvement over King's original work. I mean his style is always a bit dry to me but usually <more>
the screenwriters mess things up further, as you can see in most of the other thousand King adaptations. But here there are these minor changes to the plot that work a lot better. Especially the fact that Todd gets away with everything this time is more fitting, though it didn't really make me that cheerful.One of the least lackluster of all Stephen King movies
Directed by Bryan Singer The Usual Suspects and both X-Men features , Apt Pupil is a story of adolescent curiosity and evil intentions. Ian McKellen X-Men plays the role of an aged, former Nazi soldier living alone in a quiet town with Brad Renfro Sleepers as a young, high school teenager in the search of finding the truth about Nazi life in wartime Germany.Adapted from the Stephen King novella of the same name, Apt Pupil is a psychological thriller with an Alfred Hitchcock-like presence, leaving quite a bit to the viewer's imagination. Much like a game of cards, the action moves <more>
back and forth between characters, each trying to take control of one another. While Kurt Dussander McKellen wants to keep his past in the past, Todd Bowden Renfro keeps probing and sometimes threatening to unleash the stories of the reign of Hitler and the torture of the Jews.While this movie is much like other Stephen King-adapted novels in the sense that it doesn't always translate well to the big screen with all of the little nuances that made King famous , the superb acting and directing makes Apt Pupil a worthwhile venture into the nature of mental wickedness. Both Singer's vision and McKellen's portrayal of Nazi war criminal bring excitement and intrigue to this movie making it a must-see.
Stephen King's Apt Pupil, which is part of the novella collection Different Seasons alongside the stories that inspired The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me , is a valid example of how you don't need things to be openly supernatural to have a good scary tale: a "human" incarnation of pure evil will do just as fine, and few images are more effective than those of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during WWII.Okay, minor correction: WWII has virtually nothing to do with this story, given it takes place in 1984. There is a Nazi involved, though: his name is Kurt <more>
Dussander Ian McKellen , but he's been living quite peacefully in your average American neighborhood under the name Arthur Denker. However, a young boy named Todd Bowden Brad Renfro from the Grisham-inspired The Client manages to uncover the old man's real identity thanks to some thorough research and tells him about the discovery. The unexpected thing is, Todd doesn't want to report Dussander to the police. What he really wants is to learn everything - and he repeatedly emphasizes the word "everything" - about the former Nazi's work under Hitler's regime. Soon enough, the perverse bond between the two starts affecting the boy's grades and behavior, and Dussander isn't unaffected either: somewhere deep inside lies the old Nazi, and that part of his personality would like to come out and play.The film's screenplay sticks quite faithfully to the basic idea of King's story and reproduces some of the most famous scenes verbatim except for one moment of animal cruelty, which had to be softened , although a few subplots are excised, presumably for the sake of length and pace. The downside of that is an occasional lack of detail, especially when it comes to the development of Renfro's character. Director Bryan Singer, who obviously found himself in an uncomfortable position to begin with, having to live up to the success of The Usual Suspects, makes up for this flaw by constructing a genuinely tense and unnerving atmosphere, adding to the moral ambiguity by highlighting the homosexual subtext already present in the book when Todd tells Dussander to f*ck himself, the latter replies: "My dear boy, can't you see? We're f*cking each other." .Acting-wise, the limelight is inevitably placed on the leading duo, even if the supporting cast, which includes fine character actors like Bruce Davison and Elias Koteas, is quite strong with the exception of David "Ross" Schwimmer, who isn't entirely at ease in a serious role . Renfro's performance is solid and captivating enough, but like his character he is completely overshadowed by the superb, unsettling McKellen, who inhabits the role of Dussander with his usual Shakespearean grandeur. Case in point: the unforgettable moment when the old man is forced to wear an old SS uniform Todd got his hands on. McKellen carries out the assignment with the dignity of a great tragic thespian, nailing the scene as one of the essential samples of his film career.Apt Pupil distances itself from The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me in that it isn't as accomplished, most notably when it comes to the inevitable book/film comparison. Then again, it tells a much darker story, which asks the audience to root for a psychotic teenager and an aging Nazi. Flawed it may be, but it certainly is interesting not to mention carried by an astounding McKellen . It is indeed a different season.
Stephen King is a genius... I repeat, Stephen King is a genius that was just for the record, I have to pay tribute to the King before I have the right to continue this commentary . Moving on, I have to say two words that made this movie great, only two words to describe the main reason for success in this production, the first is "Ian" the second is "McKellen". You put them together and you get the name of the BEST actor for this part. He wasn't just brilliant in this role, he literally WAS the role, you couldn't see him as an actor in the movie, he was just too <more>
good for that. You see him as the role. What more can you ask for from a actor? The story is extremely original and slick. which are rare combinations considering that almost everything has been done by this time . Whoever did the casting on this movie deserves a kiss on the cheek! They choose the best people for their suitable roles. Even these new actors and actresses fit into their roles great. From start to end you will be interested in this movie. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you see it. To all you out there who think that just because it's written by Stephen King it's going to be horror I remind you of this: Lean on me, The Green Mile, and Shawshank Redemption were all written by Stephen King.