After School. (18.)
Directed by Antonio Campos.
Starring Ezra Miller, Jeremy White, Emory Cohen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Addison Timlin. 122 mins
Campus terror comes in a plain face in the 21st Century. There’s no need to wear a mask when the eyes are dead and set in the middle of a pale blank face. This debut feature strikes a middle ground between Gus Van Sant’s Elephant and one of De Palma’s surveillance thrillers.
Mixing up static and handheld cameras, it attempts to mimic the emotional state - part cold detachment, part frenzied hormonal rage - of its characters, especially Robert (Miller), a new student in an exclusive American boarding school who is finding it hard to adapt to life there and eventually finds himself entwined in a school tragedy.
You can’t call it original because it is regurgitating ideas from Blow Up 40 years ago and it’s a little self consciously artistic but it’s a serious, distinctive and disturbing film that’s well worth making allowances for.