Afterschool (2008) – Film Review
Director: Antonio Campos
Cast: Ezra Miller, Addison Timlin
by Dan Berlinka
Ezra Miller’s screen debut Afterschool is, perhaps understandably, being promoted as if it is effectively his audition reel for We Need to Talk About Kevin.
But despite both characters being teenagers with alienation issues, his performance here is almost the polar opposite of his later and more famous role.
Shy, monosyllabic Robert has none of the unsettling charisma and intensity of Kevin – you can’t take your eyes off the latter; you soon tire of the former.
“A long way from delivering”
In some ways it feels churlish to overly criticise this first feature by (then) 24-year old director Antonio Campos. The laconic shooting style is occasionally effective, the low key performances all feel authentic, and the ideas raised (the distancing effect of YouTube videos; the hypocrisy of institutionalised grief) are not without interest.
Trouble is, none of them are really explored. While the picture does show promise, it’s still a long way off from delivering on it. If you liked Gus Van Sant’s Elephant then this might be for you, but everyone else can skip this class.