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2011 | PG-13 | 2.39:1



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Theatrical release date

 09 March, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Apart Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, March 29, 2012

There’s a mystery at the heart of “Apart” that’s dying for a more convincing exploration. A glacial descent into teen anxiety born from a mystery psychological disorder, the feature does a poor job convincing viewers to care about its puzzles and miserable characters. It pouts and shouts, yet “Apart” is looking to build to a powerhouse resolution of unimaginable emotional weight it doesn’t reach, spending too much time on atmosphere, soaking the picture in a repetitive sense of the unknown. “Apart” is handsomely mounted, but far too languid to penetrate the senses in the same mind-blowing manner writer/director Aaron Rottinghaus intends.

Snapping out of a coma, Noah (Josh Danziger) has learned he barely escaped a vicious house fire that claimed the life of his affable father. Unable to recall the traumatic event, the young man is left to piece his life back together, finding support from his cautious brother, Oliver (Jason Davis). Discovering a connection to Emily (Olesya Rulin, perhaps best known as Kelsi from the “High School Musical” movies), Noah pursues the girl, hoping to understand their complicated relationship before the accident robbed him of his life. Instead of solid answers, Noah uncovers larger questions when he learns of his special link to Emily, with both individuals facing a crippling form of schizophrenia that raises great concern when they find themselves in each other’s presence.

“Apart” certainly means well enough, offering audiences a fairly soothing ride into madness, scored to soft pop songs and shot with a colorless look common in today’s sullen teen movie landscape. It’s not groundbreaking in any way, yet there’s an odd peace about the picture, nurtured well by Rottinghaus, who remains on target with his emo take on mental fragility. Care has gone into composition and introductions, providing a passable understanding of these characters at the launch of the mystery, positioning personalities in a manner that promises a royal payoff down the line, with visits to psychiatrists (Joey Lauren Adams) and doctors (Bruce McGill) establishing a clinical tone soon to be eaten away by paranoia and confusion. For the first reel, “Apart” finds its footing as a question mark, introducing inconsistencies and enigmatic characters with an even flow, sparking up an interest in the film’s future events.

That initial electricity surrounding the puzzling nature of Emily and Noah is quickly halted with the introduction of their ICD-10 F2 diagnosis, which places a specific stamp of schizophrenia on a picture Rottinghaus has no real interest in developing to its full potential. Here’s a feature that plays with time and perspective, establishing an unreality to the couple’s existence that’s plagued them with nightmarish visions and baffling uneasiness. Instead of following the medical lead to a satisfying resolution of personal liberation, “Apart” grows increasingly vague with its clues, slowing the effort down to a crawl to labor over plot turns that aren’t always explained to satisfaction. The ICD-10 F2 promise made early (the marketing for the film proudly promotes the script’s intensive research) is left to wilt in the second half, heading into complex areas of semi-consciousness that would require an additional hour to fully explore.

“Apart” falls to pieces in the final act, endeavoring to tie up a limp mystery and connect Emily and Noah as an example of romantic tragedy, finding the ill-fated couple facing their toxic selves in a fiery climax. Rottinghaus tries diligently to turn his tiny independent film into a sensorial event, but it never takes flight. Certainly ambitious, “Apart” doesn’t capture a grand sense of the psychological unknown, leaving behind characters that rarely feel organically bothered and a jigsaw puzzle of motivations and misery that’s best left unfinished.

Starring: Olesya Rulin, Josh Danziger, Joey Lauren Adams
Director: Aaron Rottinghaus

» See full cast & crew

Apart, Forum Discussions

Last post
Deadliest Catch Falling Apart 29 Jul 03, 2014
Things Fall Apart 3 May 27, 2010

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