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Apt Pupil (1998, Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

Californian teenager Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro) becomes fascinated with the Nazi era after being given the subject as a school project and is slowly convinced that his neighbour, Arthur Denker, is actually a former concentration camp commander. Confronting the old man he is proved right, and Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen) is unmasked. The boy has a simple proposition: he will keep silence in return for an eyewitness account of the Holocaust. Dussander agrees.

Night after night, Todd’s dreams are corrupted by visions inspired by the old man’s stories, and his education begins to suffer. Dussander poses as the boy’s grandfather to con Mr French (David Schwimmer), the school counsellor, who becomes suspicious and begins to take a closer interest. As the truth threatens to engulf him, Todd decides he will protect the secret at any cost…

Still basking in glory from The Usual Suspects , Singer revisited the work of Stephen King which inspired the director’s first feature, Public Access. Changing the ending and rewarding the author with a blink-and-miss cameo role, the result is a movie which shocks and subverts.

production details
France – USA | 107 minutes | 1998

Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Brandon Boyce (from the novel by Stephen King)

Ian McKellen as Kurt Dussander
Brad Renfro as Todd Bowden
David Schwimmer as Edward French
Bruce Davison as Richard Bowden
Ann Dowd as Monica Bowden
Elias Koteas as Archie
Joe Morton as Dan Richler
Jan Tříska as Isaac Weiskopf
Joshua Jackson as Joey
Mickey Cottrell as Sociology Teacher
Michael Reid MacKay as Nightmare Victim
James Karen as Victor Bowden
Marjorie Lovett as Agnes Bowden
David Cooley as Gym Teacher
Blake Anthony Tibbetts as Teammate
Heather McComb as Becky Trask
Katherine Malone as Student
Grace Sinden as Secretary