Apt Pupil (1998)

Director Bryan Singer's highly anticipated follow-up to THE USUAL 
SUSPECTS is an overlong, kinda flat (but still suspenseful), and 
surprisingly restrained (read: largely gore-less) adaptation of 
Stephen King's novella.  The plot: morbidly curious white-bread 
teen (Brad Renfrow) discovers a Nazi war criminal (Ian McKellan, 
of course) living in his town.  The result: recalled horrors beget 
real ones...  While some shocks seem manufactured, others, such as 
the expectedly graphic Holocaust flashbacks, are conspicuously ab-
sent.  The real nail-biters, rather, are the quieter moments of 
tension that Singer so expertly stages.  (It's the *possibility* 
of something terrible about to happen that's so deliciously uncom-
fortable.)  Getting the overall momentum right, however, is 
another matter entirely.  Singer is far less-successful with the 
story arc, stumbling through a few false endings and shifting 
points-of-view before wrapping on a potent (but way-too-long-in-
coming) high note.  (You'll leave suitably disturbed.)  With Bruce 
Davison, Elias Koteas, Joe Morton, and David Schwimmer, whose ap-
pearance in a bushy black moustache is one of the film's scariest 
moments.  He plays a guidance counselor who, I swear, looks like a 
cross between Groucho Marx and Adoph Hitler.  What a strange sense 
of humor this filmmaker has...  (Rated "R"/112 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: October 26, 1998

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros - Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros