All dressed up with nowhere to go, the visually adept “Apart” has a narrative rhythm as disjointed as the personalities of its lead teenagers, who share a rare psychotic disorder whenever they’re together. Editor-turned-writer-helmer Aaron Rottinghaus has a keen eye, but doles out the details of this mystery at such a dysfunctional pace, it’s difficult to get engaged. Perfs are first-rate, notably from Olesya Rulin, whose Emily Gates has been psychologically bonded to Noah Greene (Josh Danziger) since a grade-school bus crash. But small-bore theatrical play will likely be followed by weak ancillary exposure.When Noah awakens from a coma, he’s desperate to find Emily, and his marbles. No one wants to help him remember the calamitous details of the fire that led him to lose his memory; Emily’s reluctant to have anything to do with him, while a friend’s father (Michael Bowen) seems to be nursing a grudge. What happened is revealed in spurts and flashes, the storyline zigzagging from pre-fire to post-fire, the viewer getting lost in the process. Ultimately, it’s a roundabout trip to a fairly predictable destination, despite the curiosity of the film’s folie a deux.
A SystemX Media presentation. Produced by Ryan Rettig. Co-producer, Natalie Angel. Directed, written, edited by Aaron Rottinghaus.
Camera (color), J.P. Lipa; music, Philip James Gilberti; production designer, James Fowler; art director, John Parker; costume designer, Ashlyn Angel. Reviewed on DVD, New York, March 7, 2012. Running time: 86 MIN.
Olesya Rulin, Josh Danziger, Bruce McGill, Michael Bowen.