Apt Pupil (** Ĺ) - This is a hard film to review because it works and doesnít work in equal measure. Stephen King stories have always had a kind of love/hate relationship with the movies. His best works usually end up being the simpler ones - ones dealing with the existence of pure evil in reality, more than monsters and ghosts. Movies like Misery, Stand by Me, and The Shawshank Redemption stand out amongst Kingís reality based inspirations and Apt Pupil would seem like an obvious shot for a riveting film - but it fails because it isnít riveting - just a mild shake-up.Ian McKellen is great as the ex-Nazi who starts re-visiting his past. But the Brad Renfro character is kind of a mystery. Why is he so fascinated with learning about this guyís true identity. It happens way too early in the film and thatís a mistake because we really have no idea whatís going on in this kidís head. For the first hour, the kid seems like a truly potential psycho and it becomes more of an exercise in spotting the bigger psychotic. Then, while itís not a particularly appealing topic, weíre not given that much information about the Naziís past. We get to hear one story and everything else becomes just assumed info as time passes with just a mere title card. A few shocking images early on suggest that the films stakes might be raised later, but they never really are and instead engages on basically a mano-a-mano blackmailing game that eventually amounts to much ado about nothing. The final 20 minutes did grip me, making me appreciate some of the earlier scenes which seemed, perhaps, a bit trivial. But then the film ends at perhaps the place where the real story should have begun.I havenít read the original King novella, but Iíve heard itís quite good. Therefore I canít say how close the screenplay resembles it, but the film misses the boat due to the lackluster script which should have more meat to it. Bryan Singer brings the right mood to the story and the direction is on target, but itís a marginal pass because I was looking for a rivet instead of just a mild touch.