Thursday, August 30, 2007

Apt Pupil

A couple of nights ago, I was presented with one of those DVD cases that house three movies - two on one disc. I've never seen a movie on either side of the disc - yeah - I don't get out much. That's not the good bit. I am starting to seriously get into writing horror and dark fiction so who better to learn from than Stephen King.

The three DVD set contained - Christine; Sleepwalkers; Apt Pupil.

The first two are full blown novels but the last is a novella. I'm a fan of Christine from way back, always had a soft spot for a 57 Fury since watching it. Sleepwalkers was strange. I remember watching years ago and thinking it was a little weird. Now I'm all grown up, I know it's weird!

Apt Pupil I'd never heard of. I haven't read it or seen the movie before. - It is seriously good! If you want to learn how to portray a plot with a couple of major twists in it - watch this.

It starts with a barely plausible plot of a young boy in school taking a weeks focus on The Holocaust and becoming obsessed with it. During a bus trip home, he recognises an older version of a man he has seen in his research. With an old raincoat, glasses, hat and an extra 50 years - apparently a single glance was enough to set the boy off on the course that makes the movie. A lame opening but it gets better.

With items purchased from Toy World, the kid proves the real identity of the old man to be that of a German Soldier, a member of the SS, who worked in the concentration camps.

OK so with all the ridiculous bits out of the way, the real story begins - the kid blackmails the old man into telling him about the camps during the war. Not the watered down versions he learnt at school - but every sickening detail.

This is a sixteen year old kid! His obsession grows until it's all he can think about and his grades start to slide. The old man steps in and makes a deal with the school councillor and turns the tables on the kid, placing a full affidavit of their relationship in a bank security box. If he dies, then the lawyers get it which would expose the kid and ruin his life.

At this point I was thinking not a bad story, cant be much left - wrong! The story twists with the introduction of a homeless man discovering the old man's past, a Nazi war criminal hunter, the councillor discovering the deception of the old man after graduation, the old man's solution to the homeless guy and how it involves the kid. The secret of the strong box, suicide and suggested child molestation by the councillor.

In the end, the councillor runs for his professional career, the old man gets away with his crimes - kind of and the kid gets off Scott free and proves to be the most cunning of them all.

If this little gem has passed you by - do yourself a favour - go buy it!

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