offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My Führer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: AFTERSCHOOL

    Afterschool

    Afterschool not-so-special

    "Afterschool" is an emotionless teen exploitation movie made more "artistic" by being made more boring.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com

    I'm already anticipating "Afterschool 2: The Return of Robert."

      
    AFTERSCHOOL
    Written and directed by: Antonio Campos.
    Cast: Ezra Miller, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paul Sparks, Michael Stuhlbarg, Addison Timlin, Gary Wilmes.
    Cinematography: Jody Lipes.
    Edited by: Antonio Campos.
     SCHEDULE
    Cinema Village
    22 E. 12th St.
    (212) 924-3363

     RELATED ARTICLES
    New York Film Festival, 2008
    • Afterschool
    • Happy-Go-Lucky
    • Hunger
    "Afterschool" ends with such a horror-movie cliché — the bad monstery guy turning around and leering straight into the camera so we can see the depth of sequel-worthy badness in his soul — that it feels cut from the worst kind of genre flick and scotch-taped into this arthouse picture developed and premiered at Cannes. Oooh, très creepy!

    Just when you thought it was safe to go to indie cinema, along comes Antonio Campos's blatant attempt to be seen making Serious Art about Serious Issues out of stupid teensploitation ingredients. It's really "Refer Madness" but with a totally chill emotionless vibe for the 2000s.

    Robert (Ezra Miller) is an unexceptional — and in fact, uninteresting — boarding student at the tony Academy for Naughty Mean Rich Kids, where he is miserable because everybody there is naughty and mean. He wants his mom to bring him home, but while waiting for that to never happen he has plenty of time to salve his misery with drugs and online videos.


      
    You're meant to be shocked that today's youth are so dissolute and disconnected, although the net effect is that there are long periods of nothing interesting going on.  

      
    Just when he can't stand it anymore, something cool happens to change his mind. ... I mean, bad. Something bad happens. Two of the popular girls sniff some poisoned cocaine and die with blood gushing from their sweet little noses, and our boy Robert happens to be right there with a video camera to detachedly record the deaths.

    Detachment is the theme of the whole movie. We're meant to look at the privileged prep-school brats of today and tut over their outrageous anomie. In spite of school counselors' earnest attempts to relate to them, the teens persist in their own little world of emotionless sex, drugs, Internet time-wasters and death. They have no personalities, but at least they have vices. You're meant to be shocked that today's youth are so dissolute and disconnected, although the net effect is that there are long periods of nothing interesting going on.

      Afterschool
    To punctuate this idea visually, the camera is detached from everything it sees, with long takes of people's foreheads and the sides of their faces while they speak. This is what makes it Art. It's both boring and out of the frame.

    To turn the edgy up to 11, Robert makes his own tribute video to the poor pretty girls, which turns out to have all the artistic merit of "Afterschool" itself. It's so self-referential, it must be a touch of brilliance.

    Writer-director Campos ends the film with what's supposed to be a wicked twist, followed by the wicked leer. What he's done is used every avant-garde quirk he can think of to dress up a schlocky not-very-scary movie as a sophisticated psychological masterpiece, the kind where if you don't think it was very good that's probably because you don't understand art. Or maybe you don't care about the decadence of our misguided youth. Regardless, it's guaranteed to be you who don't measure up — never the film! I'm sure many critics will praise "Afterschool," but it is less than it appears.

    OCTOBER 5, 2009
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Afterschool:

  • I feel your review is off   from Susan, Nov 21, 2009

  • Post a comment on "Afterschool"