Tuesday, March 06, 2007:

Apt Pupil (1998)

Apt Pupil (1998)
Apt Pupil, dir: Bryan Singer
Comments:
And of course there's the shot of the basement stairs....

I don't remember much about Different Seasons (except that I most enjoyed The Body and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption), but the Wikipedia summary shows me that the novella was much darker than the film (and, I think, probably much better).
 
 
Though I guess calling the novella "better" would presume that people should be punished for their crimes. Doesn't seem like such a radical concept, but given the political leadership these days it's becoming increasingly alien.

In any case, I'm not sure how cynical/realistic Singer is trying to be, since he changed what happens to the boy but also changed what and how much he did. King apparently took it much further, made his increasing atavism much more clear. I get the feeling that Singer was shooting for a Chinatown style shocker of an ending--evil wins, there's nothing you can do about it--but that he didn't have the courage of his convictions or perhaps had some studio interference.

All of which could be entirely wrong; maybe this film represents Singer's vision exactly and the most I should say--if even that--is that I found it somewhat unsatisfying.
 
 
I'm not convinced by the film's ending, really: couldn't the counselor go to the police and tell them what he knew, and wouldn't that lead the police to revisit the scene of the crime and re-examine all the evidence as well as looking for (and quite likely finding) more?

Also, I just really can not get a handle on the use homosexuality in the film: as stereotypical characterization, as a lure, and as a tool for blackmail. I know that Singer is openly gay, if not eager to talk about it in interviews, but I find the film somewhat disturbing in ways I'm not sure he intended.

I guess, like Ferrara's Body Snatchers, the film is successful on unexpected terms.
 
 
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