Dismissed

These students don’t want teachers when they have Google!

Year Released : 2017

Director : Ben Arfmann

Cast : Kent Osborne, Dylan Sprouse and Rae Gray

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t reviewed many films recently. There are a few reasons for this, mostly to do with how little spare time I have these days, but there is also the strong aspect of being a bit demoralised due to a low amount of decent movies that I’ve reviewed in recent times. This will be just the twelfth film I’ve reviewed during 2018, and out of the previous 11 I’ve only given the approved stamp to one…..and that was a documentary of a sport that I am keen on.

I’m on a barren run of decent films and so I have decided to go to my Youtube Playlist of trailers, aptly named “Films I Want to Watch”. I do intend on reviewing pretty much every film on there one day and I figured I might as well do one now, so I’ve settled on “Dismissed” (which will no longer be on the aforementioned list by the time you read this review), a film describing itself as a horror. I’m not big on horror films, but you never know.

Anyway, here’s hoping I’ll avoid an 11th disappointment out of 12……

Plot

David (Osborne) is an English teacher struggle to engage his students, causing him to stall filling in his application to get tenure. One day he is introduced to Lucas (Sprouse) a new student from San Francisco and is instantly won over by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable newcomer.

Everything seems fine at first as the two develop a strong relationship, but when David only places Lucas as his second seed for the chess team, Lucas responds by purposefully injuring the first seed. He then heavily criticises David’s level of education when he is given a B+ for a paper based on Othello in which he praises the antagonist as the only person in the story who is true to their own nature.

Over the next few days David mysteriously has several unusual incidents, including finding his car tyres flattened and his application to be a professor dismissed after someone mysteriously changed the wording of it. He is adamant that it is Lucas, but he can’t prove it.

So is this a return to reviewing decent films?

Put simply, no. “Dismissed” is one of those films that had potential but it was wasted on a dull and predictable execution. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt engaged, surprised or even remotely interested in what was happening. This is 86 or so minutes of tedium.

I am not sure whether it is simply the dialogue, the lack of a personality of the character, or the lifeless performance of Kent Osborne, but as protagonist David is a word I don’t like to use, boring. He is completely tedious as a central protagonist. The first time we meet him as a character is when he is talking to his students as about Othello and not one of them is interested or paying attention, but the problem with that is that he is hard to sympathise with because he lacks any charisma whatsoever. This continues throughout and if I was a student and had a teacher like him, I’d struggle to care too.

Dylan Sprouse is also lacking in a presence. He does come off as slightly unhinged, but in a very over the top and unrealistic way. It is nothing that I haven’t seen before and there are other actors in similar movies that have held the screen far better than Sprouse. He is not awful by any stretch, especially when put up against Osborne, but as far as antagonists go he is barely on the radar. He’s just sort of there.

There is a distinct lack of genuine tension or atmosphere, all of which is poorly hidden by ambient music. To be fair, the acoustics are comfortably the best part of the movie, but that is faint praise indeed.

Summary

Tedious and unengaging, with a central protagonist that lacks any charisma, “Dismissed” tries to go back to a formula that has been done before and with far better execution.

This could have been so much better, but the lack of anything worth getting excited about or engaged in not only fails to drive the plot, it derails the interest. Even just an original thought or idea in this movie would have been a positive to write about, but it lacks even that.

Avoid.

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