Apprentice ★★★★

Fantastic film. Now THIS is how you do arthouse cinema. THIS is a production with a good script, proper execution, solid plot and enough, but not too much, narrative tension to move the story forward. Stellar performances from all three leads - Firdaus Rahman, Wan Hanafi Su and Mastura Ahmad all seemed to fall into their roles with ease. Even the dynamics between them felt natural. It would've been very easy for this film to turn into an activisty preachy polemic, but that it didn't is a credit to the writers and producers. A little suspension of disbelief is required - the odds of someone escaping security checks within the highly-regulated Singapore civil service and getting as far within the system as Aiman does before being noticed is highly improbably. Still, the possibilities within that explored in the film are worth considering. I liked the storyline's exploration of the absent father-struggling son dynamic, the arcs of the angry young man and stoic caring woman, the ways in which characters grappled with the ethical dilemmas they found their lives in. And beautifully soundtracked by The Observatory (my only complaint is there should have been more sound!).