APT PUPIL (golden boy) (1997 U.S.) D/P: BRYAN SINGER W: BRANDON BOYCE P: JANE HAMSHER/DON MURPHY
After the critical success of his THE USUAL SUSPECTS, Singer made this interesting Stephen King adaptation (one of the handful of good ones) that ended up creeping out pretty quietly after sitting on the shelf for two years. Brad Renfro (who died in 2008 at age 25) is an intense, hard working high school student who tracks down an ex-Nazi war criminal (the excellent Ian McKellan) who's living in hiding under a false identity near Renfro's home. The boy threatens to expose McKellan unless he tells him all about the death camps ("the things they don't teach you in school"). The absorbing, intricate Boyce script is expertly handled by Singer (and a fine cast) and it never quite goes in the direction you might expect it to. The way America persecutes other countries for atrocities that it also commits is a very well-handled subtext. With Bruce Davison, Elias Koteas, Heather Mc.Comb, David Schwimmer and James Karen. Recommended.

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