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July 10, 2011

Movie Review: Apt Pupil (1998, Blu-ray, Image)

Long before Ian McKellan was playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series he was marching to Adolf in Brian Singer's thriller, Apt Pupil. Image Entertainment has just recently released the film on the Blu-ray format in lovely High-Definition with a few extras to boot.

Buy Apt Pupil [Blu-ray] or DVD

The late Brad Renfro (Larry Clarks, Bully) plays Todd Bowden, a teenager with a disturbing fixation on the history of the S.S. Particularly the men behind Adolf Hitler running the concentration camps. Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellan) was employed to murder for the S.S; for decades since he has gone on with his life and just become that older quiet neighbor. Bowden wants to take his knowledge to a new level and learn more about the camps and other intricacies of this horrible time in world history. He soon tracks down Dussander, forcing him to talk. Dussander's feels cornered by Bowden with threats of him being exposed but it doesn't take him long to take the upper hand on this naive high school kid.

Apt Pupil is essentially a two character piece, despite the fact that there are some other solid actors in the cast like Bruce Davison, James Karen and Elias Koteas. To me, this is really McKellan's movie. McKellan’s portrayal of Dussander pretty damn chilling and completely genuine . There's a scene in Dussander's kitchen where Todd is ordering this (at the time) meek old man to replicate his S.S march. Right here is where you can see the metamorphosis of Dussander's character. The young man wakes the sleeping lion and becomes the puppet instead of the puppeteer.

Image Entertainment has done a fine job in presenting Apt Pupil in 2.35 A/R for the Blu-Ray. There are no noticeable hick-ups in the transfer or the sound. English subtitles are included as well as Spanish. The only extras are a brief featurette on the Making-Of Apt Pupil and its original theatrical trailer.

Apt Pupil is a very simple but highly effective thriller that manages to get under your skin just enough. Not surprisingly, it was adapted from a novella by the master of horror, Stephen King, by writer Brandon Boyce. Definitely worth a look.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite movies of all time. Though I like the novella more from the book Different Seasons; more engaging than the adaptation of the movie.

    By the way, I linked this page to my post since I found it relevant. Cheers!:-)