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Reviews by Dr. Frank Swietek   

APART 
C- 
Producer  Ryan Rettig 
Director  Aaron Rottinghaus 
Writer  Aaron Rottinghaus 
Starring Olesya Rulin  Josh Danziger  Bruce McGill  David Born  Jason Davis 
Michael Bowen  Shiree Nelson  Joey Lauren Adams  Sue Rock 
Studio  Truly Indie 
Review  Amnesia, certainly one of the hoariest cliches in the dramatic arsenal, is the linchpin of this disjointed, slow-moving psychological thriller by Aaron Rottinghaus. “Apart” has a sleek surface, courtesy of cinematographer J.P. Lipa, and the acting is reasonably good, but the fractured, mannered style fails to invigorate what’s actually a rather straightforward, if unlikely, narrative.

As the picture opens, Noah Greene (Josh Danziger) awakens from a protracted coma and his doctor (Bruce McGill) tries to help him recover his memory, lost when he suffered a head trauma during a fire in which his father (David Born) died. His brother (Jason Davis) urges him to get on with his life, but Noah is haunted by a feeling of responsibility and determined to uncover the truth, especially after a stranger named Teddy Berg (Michael Bowen) appears and prods him.

Noah’s search takes him to Emily Gates (Olesya Rulin), an obviously troubled girl who at first demands he let her alone but soon befriends him. It turns out that the two were friends since childhood, even surviving a school bus accident together. And in high school Noah was infatuated with her, and envious when she agreed to go to a senior dance with another boy. But their connection went beyond the romantic: they were joined—as the doctor explains early on, so this is no spoiler—by a rare condition that enabled them to share eerie premonitions and visions. That fact becomes the key to revealing what actually happened on the night of the fire in which Noah was injured.

There’s the germ of a clever idea in “Apart,” but as writer Rottinghaus handles it clumsily, and as director-editor he’s so intent on achieving a shimmering, evocative style that he stumbles where it comes to pacing and narrative flow. The stoic Danziger and the more animated Rulin give the script their all, and the other actors contribute mostly solid turns (though Bowen is sometimes stiff). The craft contributions are fine as well.

But this is the sort of picture that tries too hard and ends up substituting pretension for punch.
 

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