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Apt Pupil

Year: 1998
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Written By: Stephen King


This movie is based on the novella by the same name written by Stephen King.  It’s part of a collection of four novellas in the book titled “Different Seasons.” The other novellas were “Shawshank Redemption,” “The Body” (made into the movie Stand By Me), and “The Breathing Method.” I have read them all and they are all good, but this one is far and away the best.  It’s an incredible story, such a fantastic idea, and this is what Stephen King does in his free time after finishing a bigger novel. I can’t remember specifically but in the afterword I think King says he wrote this story in merely a few weeks and it was maybe after “The Shining.” One of these stories at least was written after “The Shining”, which short of “The Breathing Method” were all made into very successful films.  “Apt Pupil” is an amazing story, its about madness, obsession, manipulation, and murder.  I love the story, and I have read it several times.

Since reading it the movie doesn’t quite pack the same punch, which is typically what happens but I still enjoy the movie.  I am a big fan of Bryan Singer, despite his post X2 career.  Ian Mckellan is perfect in this film, as would be expected.  Ian McKellan is one of those actors that makes any movie better, much like Michael Caine.  He has had a lot of success teaming with Singer as they also collaborated on the X-Men movies with Mckellan playing a great Magneto. I think the part of Todd Bowden could have been cast better, nobody specific comes to mind but I am not impressed by Brad Renfro’s performance.  A major difference in the book is that the story takes place over a period of several years so Todd is much younger in the beginning.  I tend to see Renfro as too old when I watch the movie now, and I don’t think he has the range to play such a complex character.

This movie is great but if you want more madness from this story then definitely get yourself a copy of “Different Seasons.” I actually have “Apt Pupil” on audio book and listen to it as I work sometimes, it’s recorded by Frank Mueller who does a great job voice acting. The book goes much deeper and it takes you much farther, but this is typical when movies are based off of books.  This movie is worth your time and you should check it out if you have a chance to see it.


I thoroughly enjoy this film. I am a sucker for Ian McKellan, excuse me…Sir Ian McKellan. This film is interesting and isn’t like other movies that tend to follow similar past stories. This is really original. I know that it is based on a Stephen King novel, but it is still such an original movie and book. The parts that the two guys play are so perfect and to the tee. You could totally believe that Ian McKellan is actually German.

If you can’t find anything else to watch this is worth it. You have to be interested in a movie like this, I don’t think that it is really meant for everyone.

NEXT MOVIE:  A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)