Apt Pupil 1998 Movie Scene Brad Renfro as Todd Bowden looking at pictures of Nazi crimes

Apt Pupil [1998]

Authentic and very suspenseful Apt Pupil is one of those movies you will remember. Mostly because it freaking happened! Now, I don’t know whether this particular case served as an inspiration but is eerily similar. If you want to know more about it, I will leave links after the review. I also suggest that you first see the movie and then check out the true story and subsequent documentary that’s available on Netflix. Another hit from Stephen King; these words need to be printed on most of his adaptations. I really do not get how he can find inspiration to write such interesting stories. His writing style connects the reader to protagonists fairly easily and this same connection happened here. 

Apt Pupil is driven by two very powerful performances. And while we kind of expected one from Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro’s was much more demanding and delicate. Plus you will have the opportunity to see David Schwimmer with mustaches. The atmosphere is foreboding and intense as you really don’t know where the movie’s going to go. And knowing King’s writing style, you know that it can get fucked up pretty soon. Granted, the pacing is a bit slower but this movie is never boring or dull. I found it very thought-provoking and insightful, especially if you’re already familiar with the themes they explore here.

After learning about the Holocaust and Nazi crimes, young high-school student Todd Bowden decides to find out more about them. It’s a hard thing, to try and understand why things like that happen. One rainy night, on his way back home from the library, Todd thinks he saw something. Something so horrifying that even a month after that night he can’t stop thinking about it. What he doesn’t know is that things are going to escalate pretty soon.

And while Apt Pupil is essentially a character study, it also delves deeper into the fascination with Nazi soldiers and charismatic, manipulative authority figures. In these turbulent times when racism is on the rise, it explores these important issues with intelligence and care. If you want to know more, I recommend you check out Experimenter.

Finally, I just have to say that depending on your vibe, this could be a difficult watch. But I think it’s fucking worth it. That uncomfortable feeling you might be having is your brain trying to make sense of reality. Trying to update your system of values to the best possible version. And I know it feels scary but you have to do it. Otherwise, you will be forever stuck in this fake world, probably manipulated by others. The other choice is not that great either because you will realize just how many people are willing to remain docile. But I digress, just see this fucking movie.

As promised, here are the links for the: Real Apt Pupil and Netflix documentary about him.

Director: Bryan Singer

Writers: Stephen King, Brandon Boyce

Cast: Brad Renfro, Ian McKellen, Joshua Jackson, David Schwimmer, James Karen

Fun Stuff: When Stephen King learned that Bryan Singer was to direct, he sold the film rights for just $1.


IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118636/

YouTube player