Dismissed (Movie Review)

Dismissed (Movie Review)

Never has a student had it so hot for teacher in all the worst, non-sexual ways possible! Step into one truly disturbing classroom environment with Dismissed, the latest release from The Orchard, which arrives to EST/VOD on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. 

Dismissed takes its seat behind a desk in English 301 at Morristown High School, somewhere in sunny Southern California, a class that is taught by Mr. David Butler (Kent Osborne: How to Cheat 2011, Adventure Time series). With the class currently in the throes of dissecting Shakespeare’s classic Othello, in walks new transfer student Lucas Ward (Dylan Sprouse: Big Daddy 1999, The Suite Life on Deck series). An intensely dedicated, hard-working and intelligent teenager, it becomes immediately clear to all that Lucas is destined for the Ivy Leagues.

Dismissed still.

Though, as he begins to interact with his fellow students – from the equally nerdy Becca (Rae Gray: Moviestar* 2015, Fear the Walking Dead series) to jock Chris (Mitchell Edwards: Bedeviled 2016, Burning Sands 2017), to chess champion Alex (Matthew J. Evans: Smiley Face 2007, Bad Teacher 2011) – there is an intensity and pomposity about this new transfer that does not bode well with some of his counterparts. Blissfully ignorant of the developing situation, inspired to finally have such an intellectually stimulated student, Mr. Butler quickly adds Lucas to the Chess Club membership and the two appear to be growing close as student and mentor.

Unfortunately, it quickly becomes fairly-obvious that Lucas is hell-bent on a perfect 4.0, admission to Harvard, and, above all this, maintaining the façade of perfection at all times. When he receives a B+ on an essay and, shortly thereafter, is placed in Second Seat at the Chess Team’s upcoming meet, Lucas’ inner rage begins to boil. What will transpire is a series of horrific events – including a literal explosion – with everything spiraling quickly downhill and one man seemingly standing at the center of the bullseye: David Butler.

Dismissed still.

Clocking in at 86 minutes in length, Dismissed is a feature-length debut for Director Benjamin Arfmann (Random Stop short 2014, Halcyon series 2016) and was written by Brian McAuley (Nanny Cam 2014, Twisted Sisters 2016). The film also stars Alycia Delmore (Humpday 2009, Rocketmen series) as Mrs. Butler; Chris Bauer (The Wire series, True Blood series) as Mr. Ward; Leslie Thurston (My Name Is Khan 2010, Major Crimes series) as Principal Fermont; Randall Park (The Interview 2014, Fresh Off the Boat series) as Chemistry teacher, Mr. Sheldon; Mark Kelly (Made Men series, Fear the Walking Dead series) as Detective Speck; Robert Longstreet (Take Shelter 2011, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. 2017) as Paul Garrett; and Rowan Smyth (South Park series, W/Bob & David series) as Young Lucas.

A Thriller with many literature and chess-based analogies throughout its darkly haunting script, Dismissed is a solid offering that will disturb you long after its closing. An intelligent offering in the genre, this is a film that makes clear metaphors throughout, utilizing the text of such high school English favorites as Shakespeare’s Othello and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment; a thoughtful usage that, while whip-smart, might make some former English students cringe. Shakespeare? No, thank you!

The ensemble cast do justice to their roles throughout, though the clear stand-out of this production is Sprouse as the deranged Lucas Ward. Equal parts hauntingly smarmy and dashingly convincing, Sprouse creates a well-rounded character who is alarmingly intelligent, eerily intense, and a brilliant embrace of all things sociopath; like the chess master that his character claims to be, Sprouse’s Ward plays everyone around him like a pawn. Equally talented is Osborne, whose Butler is able to meet Sprouse at every pass, and, without giving too much away, he authors the ultimate, tragic check-mate.

Dismissed still.

Dismissed tells the disturbing tale of a teacher who is extorted for a better grade, stalked and tormented for giving a talented student less than what he feels he deserves. Of course, how does one truly satisfy a psychopath? We may never know, but Dismissed does a superb job of imagining this sticky situation, raising hackles – and not just with memories of high school English class! – as well as weaving intelligent analogies as it goes. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Dismissed 4 of 5 stars.

The Orchard

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Jeannie Blue
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Jeannie likes to joke that she is little, yellow, blue, and different. She seemingly popped out of her mother's womb with a pen in her hand and has been writing ever since. Many moons ago - in what feels like a separate lifetime - Jean was co-editor of an online music magazine that afforded her great opportunities to interview and photograph some of her favorite bands/musicians: Tommy Lee, Good Charlotte, Warrant, Bring Me The Horizon, My Chemical Romance, Sevendust, New Found Glory, Deftones, Poison, VH-1 "Band On the Run" Flickerstick, an endless list of unsigned locals, and so many others. These days, she can usually be found hiking aimlessly through the woods in her favorite Technicolor sneakers with a Nikon in hand and her rescue dog, Molly, who is a bit hare-brained.

  • Andreas Nussbaumer
    Posted at 08:36h, 24 February Reply

    . How on earth could you refer to this horrendous excuse for a film as “solid”? My only explanation is that you’re a paid shill. The only redeeming quality of this junk heap of nonsensical bullshit is the casting of The Wire’s Chris Bauer. Everything else is poorly thought out cliche and overwrought sentiment.

    I mean come on, it’s terrible. Who are you kidding?

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 22:53h, 03 March Reply

      I appreciate the comment, Andreas, but you have to realize that everyone comes from a different background and has a unique perspective. As a reviewer, my opinion is just that: mine. In no way am I sitting here trying to say that my word is Gospel and because I have deemed it so, this is a good film. No. *I* enjoyed the film. That’s it! You don’t have to agree at all! And you don’t, which is cool. That’s why there are so many films out there, right? Something for everyone!

      • Aubrey Jean
        Posted at 01:44h, 09 October Reply

        I agree with you. It was a very interesting film that reminds us there are people out there who just don’t have feelings…. and have to substitute other things in place of them. The film sort of reminded me of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. I can’t say that I ‘like’ what went on in the story… but I definitely think this is a pretty good movie. It was also interesting to watch Jughead’s look alike brother. : )

  • Yogurtbatter
    Posted at 01:07h, 26 February Reply

    Bastard should’ve just given him his A… None of that would’ve happened.

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 22:50h, 03 March Reply

      It would have been a totally different film, that’s for sure! lol

    Posted at 08:18h, 02 March Reply

    Has no realized the similiarities in the school shooting in 1853, a student Matthew Ward took a pistol to school and shot the schoolmaster, (get this) Mr. Butler as revenge for what Ward thought excessive punishment of his brother the day before.

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 22:47h, 03 March Reply

      Hmm, I don’t know anything about that but I’d be curious to see if that was inspiration for the screenplay?!? Good catch! 🙂

  • abrrn
    Posted at 06:00h, 03 March Reply

    Not only was it a horrible film, the kid would have never been caught if it hadn’t been for the dad letting the teacher into his house. I’m not saying what he did wasnt wrong. The Police would have never had grounds on a search warrant nor were they even suspicious of Lucas. Also how are you going to give a B+ to a kid who carefully analyzed this piece of writing, because you dont agree with his interpretation??? The entire movie was bullshit.

    • Jeannie Blue
      Posted at 22:49h, 03 March Reply

      I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the film, but (shrugs) to each our own interpretations, right?

      That said, I will say that I had a teacher give me a D on a high school essay and when I questioned him, he merely said: “If anyone else wrote this, it would be an A. But for you, it’s not up to snuff and it’s a D!” So there are ridiculous teachers who get away with pompous crap. That is sadly a reality that some people experience. Which, of course, doesn’t mean you go postal and start maiming people . . . . 😛

    • Palmer
      Posted at 02:47h, 04 April Reply

      I believe that you are wrong… why? because, it is a story that could come true one day. Movies can be over their heads most of the time, but this is a smart story. Of course when I make a mistake in school I’m going to get counted against it. He made a few mistakes ,which could definitely turn into a B+. Plus you can tell that this kid had mental issues. He didn’t get the right help he needed because of his crappy dad. His dad never showed love because his son never showed love back.( and of course he was always drunk) This is a great movie and I tell all my friends to watch it.

  • TracyEliza
    Posted at 00:43h, 04 September Reply

    Ech and Ugh. Jeanie, congratulations for your humble brag comment. Your teacher thought so highly of you he gave you a D when you would have received an A if you were of ‘normal intelligence’. So gross. Also this movie was complete shit, the only amazing acting was done by Dylan Sprouse. I hope he has an amazing future as an actor as he is well worth it. I apologise Mr Osborne and Ms Delmore, but your take on a happy couple who goes through some pretty heinous shit, is lazy and futile.

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