Apt Pupil

A 13-year-old obsessed with the Holocaust recognizes one of his suburban California neighbors as a wanted war criminal. Instead of turning him in, he coerces the old man into describing in detail what happened in the concentration camps. Likely to offend with its notions about cruelty and vengeance, this disturbing 1998 drama based on a story by Stephen King is largely free of generic horror-movie elements, such as exploitative torture and murder scenes. Those it does contain draw attention to the difference between the conventions of psychological drama and those of pulp horror. As we react to the sometimes obviously stereotyped characters, we're forced to think about how soothing we find the oversimplification of human behavior. Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) directed a screenplay by Brandon Boyce. 111 min.

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