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February 5, 2017

Movie Review: The Lesson (2017, Blu-ray)

                 Review By:
                 James D.

”The Lesson” centers on Fin and Joel who are juvenile delinquents. They are every parent’s worst nightmare in the way that they conduct themselves daily. Fin lives with his negligent brother Jake and Jake’s girl Mia. Fin views Mia like a mother figure. Their teacher one day has enough and snaps. Mr Gale decides to abduct Fin and Joel. He straps them into chairs at a desk containing two dictionaries. This desk is the setting for the majority of the film as Mr. Gale is out to teach them the lesson he has been trying to teach them in class.

This film tackles how unruly the youth have become and how teachers are reaching their breaking points trying to handle them. The education system constantly comes under fire for the abuse teachers deliver on kids, but we never hear what could have provoked a teacher to do it. As a former “ class clown” in school and general screw up from 3rd grade to 12th, I can attest that teachers get a bad rap and deserve more credit for their jobs. This film opened my eyes to what torture a teacher does go thru, and it also opened my eyes that in a situation that could cause harm, who knows if a child can change. The acting by Hands as Mr Gale is extraordinary. He plays this very unhinged character that we are also scared of snapping even worst. There is a tinge of torture porn thrown in, but nothing too gratuitous or obnoxious. This film centers on a teacher wanting two students to learn their lessons and try to be better people.

What's interesting about "The Lesson" is that it does try to find depth in the flashback scenes of Fin’s mom. Who we learn in black and white segments is dead. I wish the film would have made the two young kids, more than just a flash. I wish we could have more depth into what made them this way. The film fails in the way it tries to achieve a tense moment. It hints at violence, but it pulls back. Like there was a uncertainty in the way the film was shot. This film is out to be a social commentary on what is happening in the school system. Which, I wish this film was a little smarter on developing the two kids and also the teacher.

Director Ruth Platt does achieve some good performances and a few scenes that could get you to blink. I like the film but I wanted to love this film. The first 30 minutes of this film gave us so much promise, that the rest of the film struggled to maintain or deliver. It was a bumpy ride, but the journey was a good enough ride. I feel films like this, are going to be the future of horror. Where ” found footage” was the craze, I feel with the way current events are, we are going to get more teacher vs student films. Which, could be a huge plus.

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