Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Apart

Imagine Romeo and Juliet by way of Donnie Darko and you'll have some idea what to expect from writer-director Aaron Rottinghaus' atmospheric story of star-crossed romance with a supernatural twist.

March 8, 2012

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1317298-Apart_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Two years ago, high-school senior Noah Greene (Josh Danziger, who co-wrote the story here) barely survived a fire that killed his father and plunged Noah into a two-year coma. He wakes up with no recollection of the blaze and only fractured memories of the events leading up to it.

Noah isn't sure he wants to go rooting around the cellar of his subconscious, and he's not the only one: His older brother is firmly in the “let sleeping dogs lie” corner, though it's unclear how much of that is concern for Noah and how much is his own psychological damage; he did, after all, have to leave town and disrupt his own education after the fire, and now he's effectively forced into his late father's shoes, looking after a high-strung, moody sibling. But Noah's psychiatrist is convinced that not only does Noah need to know—he wants to know the whole truth as much as he's afraid of what it may be.

Experienced editor Aaron Rottinghaus, whose credits include multiple episodes of HBO's “Big Love,” is nothing if not ambitious: Many more experienced directors would think twice about tackling a story that unfolds in two separate time frames and whose ultimate impact depends on doling out fragments of information in such a way that audiences are forced to piece them together along with Noah.

And he's remarkably successful, gradually revealing the story of Noah's relationship with classmate Emily Gates (Olesya Rulin of High School Musical), a pretty cheerleader with a dark secret: She has gruesome clairvoyant visions, visions he begins to share. Psychiatrists call the syndrome ICD-10 F24, but the French have a much sexier term for it—folie à deux, a shared madness that binds lovers together while cutting them off from the rest of the world.

Young actors Rulin and Danziger deliver subtle, nuanced performances as the troubled Emily and Noah, particularly given that their characters in Apart are decidedly underwritten, little more than the sum of their disorders. Rottinghaus also stacks the supporting deck with capable character actors, including Bruce McGill and Joey Lauren Adams as Noah and Emily's psychiatrists, Jason Davis (TV's “Prison Break”) as Noah's older brother, Sue Rock as Emily's mother and David Born as Noah's father. And extra credit to cinematographer J.P. Lipa, who gives the movie a rich, slightly dreamy look that draws the viewer into Emily and Noah's intense private world.


Film Review: Apart

Imagine Romeo and Juliet by way of Donnie Darko and you'll have some idea what to expect from writer-director Aaron Rottinghaus' atmospheric story of star-crossed romance with a supernatural twist.

March 8, 2012

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1317298-Apart_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Two years ago, high-school senior Noah Greene (Josh Danziger, who co-wrote the story here) barely survived a fire that killed his father and plunged Noah into a two-year coma. He wakes up with no recollection of the blaze and only fractured memories of the events leading up to it.

Noah isn't sure he wants to go rooting around the cellar of his subconscious, and he's not the only one: His older brother is firmly in the “let sleeping dogs lie” corner, though it's unclear how much of that is concern for Noah and how much is his own psychological damage; he did, after all, have to leave town and disrupt his own education after the fire, and now he's effectively forced into his late father's shoes, looking after a high-strung, moody sibling. But Noah's psychiatrist is convinced that not only does Noah need to know—he wants to know the whole truth as much as he's afraid of what it may be.

Experienced editor Aaron Rottinghaus, whose credits include multiple episodes of HBO's “Big Love,” is nothing if not ambitious: Many more experienced directors would think twice about tackling a story that unfolds in two separate time frames and whose ultimate impact depends on doling out fragments of information in such a way that audiences are forced to piece them together along with Noah.

And he's remarkably successful, gradually revealing the story of Noah's relationship with classmate Emily Gates (Olesya Rulin of High School Musical), a pretty cheerleader with a dark secret: She has gruesome clairvoyant visions, visions he begins to share. Psychiatrists call the syndrome ICD-10 F24, but the French have a much sexier term for it—folie à deux, a shared madness that binds lovers together while cutting them off from the rest of the world.

Young actors Rulin and Danziger deliver subtle, nuanced performances as the troubled Emily and Noah, particularly given that their characters in Apart are decidedly underwritten, little more than the sum of their disorders. Rottinghaus also stacks the supporting deck with capable character actors, including Bruce McGill and Joey Lauren Adams as Noah and Emily's psychiatrists, Jason Davis (TV's “Prison Break”) as Noah's older brother, Sue Rock as Emily's mother and David Born as Noah's father. And extra credit to cinematographer J.P. Lipa, who gives the movie a rich, slightly dreamy look that draws the viewer into Emily and Noah's intense private world.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

The Congress
Film Review: The Congress

Part live-action, part cornea-searing animation, this cinematic overload is ambitious but ultimately fatigues as it plays with the intriguing notion of a fading Hollywood star selling rights so her cyberspace avatar can rise to superstardom and stay forever young in virtual reality. Flashy animation and cynical stabs at celebrity culture and movie-studio finagling keep things lively for a while. More »

The Last of Robin Hood
Film Review: The Last of Robin Hood

Serviceable vehicle for a salacious story. More »

Last Weekend
Film Review: Last Weekend

A sort of modern Chekhovian study of family tensions over a country weekend, this indie drama is very pretty to look at and at times disarming, but needed more punch. More »

The Notebook
Film Review: The Notebook

An aloof adaptation of Agota Kristof's best-seller that's technically impressive but precludes audience identification. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Film Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Neither significantly better nor worse than its predecessor, the belated Sin City sequel is more of a repeat, rather than a continuation, of the original. More »

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here