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Antonio Campos'Afterschool is an intelligent, ambitious debut that boasts strong performances and plenty of ideas.
All Critics (44)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (35)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Afterschool, the almost frighteningly accomplished first feature made by Antonio Campos when he was 24, is high school as horror show.
At its best this film is brave, cool and brimful of ideas, and if they're barely contained within the slightly flimsy story, that's down to Campos' decision to give himself the safety net of a well-worn genre.
Antonio Campos' Afterschool plays like the creepy younger brother of Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret.
The film examines such relevant issues as violence in school, voyeurism, and abuse.
When not downright creepy, it's quietly damning of an administration willing to point all the wrong fingers and play up all the wrong angles before brushing the matter aside.
This is a little movie well worth checking out. The performances are very natural, and the themes are enticingly provocative.
Whatever happened to the analog days when kids found contentment by cramming phone booths, sitting on flagpoles or simply going steady?
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.
Afterschool is filmed and paced in a very simplistic manner, which might be why the film has a haunting feeling. As a director I have never heard of Antonio Campus, but this film has peaked an interest into what other films he might have directed. However, this film did leave me wanting more. With the simplistic approach subplots were touched on and never really examined or resolved. In the end this film could have been more.
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