Apt Pupil
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

High school students tend to be curious about the world, but few go as far as Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro). After spending time in history class talking about WWII, Todd becomes obsessed with the Nazis. As he is researching them, he sees Arthur Danker (Ian McKellan) on the bus, and recognizes him as a commander of one of the concentration camps, obviously hiding from justice. Todd blackmails Danker to tell him all he remembers about his experiences. As this is happening, the effects become evident in Todd's life. His grades drop, he begins having nightmares, and he starts to push friends and family away. He becomes more and more like Danker the monster. In spite of its slow start, the film becomes more suspenseful the closer it gets to the end, making it very engrossing. Ian McKellan does a great job in his portrayal of the former Nazi, moving from a seemingly innocent old man to a person who was more than able to do evil things.

This film does not promote Nazism. Although Todd obsesses about it, the rest of society recognizes how wrong it is to be involved with Nazis. The film makes clear what Nazis are and the depths one can sink to when involved with that kind of hate. The film does have a dark streak to it, as can be expected, since it was based on a novella by Stephen King. There is a sense of hopelessness in the film, and also a sense that manipulation will get people what they want. Several violent scenes show up in the film, and it includes 31 obscenities. Danker also gives some graphic verbal depictions of the killing that went on in the camps. It is encouraging that the film does not promote Nazism. But, because of its violent elements and foul language, discriminating viewers will want to avoid APT PUPIL.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Tri-Star Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Crude Language: Several (9) times - Mild 5, Moderate
Obscene Language: Many (31) times - f-word 21, s-word 3, other 7
Profanity: Several (9) times - All Regular (G 2, GD 3, J 3, C 1)
Violence: Several times - Moderate (man tries to kill cat, man kills bird, man stabs another, man brutally assaulted)
Sexual Intercourse: Once - Implied (unmarried couple in car)
Nudity: Once (full male frontal and rear nudity)
Homosexual Conduct: Few times - people accused of being gay
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (reference made to unconventional sex)
Drug Abuse: Many times - smoking, alcohol use
Other: Drinking and smoking considered normal and acceptable, graphic verbal portrayals of death in concentration camps, manipulation will get you what you want
Running Time: 111 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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