From the author that gave you The Shining and several other top picks and the director that gave us the intriguing The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil is a compelling tale of a boy who is driven near the edge by his own mistakes. Brad Renfro stars as Todd, a stupid (but inteligent) kid who blackmails a Nazi war criminal (McKellen) but ends up getting blackmailed himself.
Apt Pupil is a suspense thriller but it accomplishes in unconventional methods. There is no one villain and there are no seens where the protagonist is trying to escape some psychopathic killer. The suspense comes from trying to predict how the movie is going to end. While there is no major climax in the movie, determining the finale to Apt Pupil is the big mystery. It could end with both characters getting away safely, or neither of them. One of them could fall and the other could continue living on as normal.
But then there's the question of "how?" While what happens to the characters is important, it is also suspenseful to determine how they will suffer, if they suffer. They could both die, the could both live. They could kill someone, or they could give up. One of them could turn on the other.
Apt Pupil is a good movie. It's only worth seeing once because after you know what happens, there is no point to see it again. But definitely see it once. Apt Pupil details the life of a boy who gets sucked in over his head into a world of evil, and the only way to escape it may be to use that evil to your advantage. That might be a rather extreme summary, but Apt Pupil is worth a watching.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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