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Afterschool

Director:  Antonio Campos
Year Released:  2008
Rating:  2.5

A glum, emotionally detached prep school student (Ezra Miller) accidentally films the deaths of two students who overdosed on drugs, then gets asked to make a memorial video for the victims - meanwhile, he's battling His Own Demons. Manages to capture teen apathy pretty well - as an instructor of teens I can say many really are like this - though it's vague in its particulars, leaving its defenders - and there are several - to out-hyperbolize each other in defending/disseminating its aesthetics: Campos is clearly a film nerd, and the frequently out-of-focus or questionably framed shots, to me, are style-compensating-for-substance. What is it about the YouTube Generation that's so disturbing? Is it that this group of young adults have become desensitized to violence and emotion because of an easy accessibility to pornography and school fights? Is this really anything new: wasn't Tim Hunter's wonderful River's Edge a similar tract about 80's disillusionment under Reagan? Or is the main character not so much a 'bad person' as someone who, let's face it, is mentally 'off-track' and could actually be helped by medication? Campos shows great promise and this might play a lot different in about a decade or so ... until then, if anyone's looking to cast someone as a young Bob Dylan, give Ezra Miller a call.

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