Afterschool

Critics Consensus

Antonio Campos'Afterschool is an intelligent, ambitious debut that boasts strong performances and plenty of ideas.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 44

48%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,600
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Movie Info

Violence and voyeurism lurk beneath the surface of life at an exclusive prep school in this independent drama. Robert (Ezra Miller) is a high school student who has made a hobby out of dulling his senses with violent pornography that he finds on the Internet. While Robert doesn't have many friends, he does have a habit of documenting the habits of his classmates with a digital video camera, and he happens to be on hand when two girls from his class succumb to fatal drug overdoses. As the deaths leave the school's faculty at a lost for what to do and send many of the students into a state of depression and denial, Robert finds himself becoming even more alienated from the world around him. Afterschool was the first feature film from writer and director Antonio Campos, and was screened as part of the "Un Certain Regard" series at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Afterschool

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (15)

  • It's both a supremely controlled exercise in form and tone and an intriguing exploration of the ways new technology intersects with age-old questions of dominance, control and individuality, particularly in the school setting.

    Oct 9, 2009
  • Anthony Campos (who was 24 when he made this jolting pic) captures the numbing psychic scramble that just might cause the YouTube generation to go morally haywire. Or become filmmakers.

    Oct 7, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Though thin on story, the film shows poise and vision, using bleak cinema-realite techniques with chilling effect. Campos promises to be heard from again.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Those with the patience to wait out Mr. Campos's overindulgences will definitely leave Afterschool unnerved, which is probably exactly what he had in mind.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The passing of time and the evolution of technology may give it an expiration date, but more likely, Campos' film stands to be an essential document of what it was like to be a young person in the late '00s.

    Oct 1, 2009 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Afterschool, the almost frighteningly accomplished first feature made by Antonio Campos when he was 24, is high school as horror show.

    Sep 29, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Afterschool

  • Nov 24, 2011
    Well that's 100 minutes I'll never get back. I tracked down "Afterschool" because it was produced by Sean Durkin, writer/director of the spine-tingling "Martha Marcy May Marlene." But, oh my God, "Afterschool" is nothing like "Martha Marcy." My jaw hung open through most of "Martha" because it was so good. My mouth hung open through most of "Afterschool" because it was so bad. Writer/director Antonio Campos, in his feature-film debut, brings us a mind-numbingly boring and empty story about zombie-like teenagers in an elite boarding school. I appreciate that Campos and Durkin hired actual teenagers to play the teenage characters. This is a pleasure, as most often teenage characters are played by 25-year-olds pretending to be adolescent. But this is the only thing about the project that was any good. Campos appears to have been trying to make some kind of comment about the impact of computer-based video on 21st-century teenagers. The main character watches clips on You Tube a lot and walks around in a stupor. All his schoolmates are in a similar stupor and have meaningless sex while on drugs. These characters bear no resemblance whatsoever to the teenagers with whom I interact, who are cauldrons of emotion and energy. They may be a bit aimless, but they're far from catatonic. The drama (if you can call it that) surrounds a drug overdose that the main character accidentally captures on video. He stands there dumbfounded as two girls choke to death in the school hallway and doesn't call for help. It's like he's watching a video, get it? Can't tell the difference between video and reality. Ugh. We watch afterward as the well-meaning but feckless teachers and police try to figure out why the boy did nothing. But no one really "gets through to him" (as feckless adults are fond of saying). I think most You Tube videos have more interesting things to say than "Afterschool." At least they have a pulse.
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2011
    A film that to a degree reminds me of a film like Elephant, really getting into its charactors and in Robert played by Ezra miller especially when events kick into action when two young students are killed/poisond and its on his film, here we follow the guy and schools atempts at dealing with this situation. the film is well observed, nicely directed and certainly has a style and pace its happy to go along with. all charactors come of genuin and realistic, and its a interesting look and a private school, when something like this kicks into play.
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Apr 02, 2010
    Very Michael Haneke-esque in it's style, with a sprinkling of Van Sant's Elephant also for good measure, there is an overwhelming sense of dread and tension throughout, but this never really pays off and the film starts to dwindle to quickly. Leaving you with a sense of disappointment.
    Jon H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2009
    It may have an occasionally self-conscious, "film school" vibe to it, but Antonio Campos' searing portrait of a student at an elite prep school who accidentally catches the deaths of two classmates on camera, channels Michael Haneke and the haunting, unnerving vibe of CACHE. A powerful evocation of high school angst, teenage grief, and of America's fascination with viral video.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer

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