Apple (Pat Hicks) is a developmentally challenged young man seemingly with the gift to see into someone's future merely by looking into their eyes. Apple struggles to deal with the abandonment of his father, while dealing with his mother's day-to-day resentment of the husband's absence she blames on her son and, perhaps, of his most unusual gift.
Co-written and directed by Barry Kneller, Apple is a richly realized and heartfelt film wrapped around a marvelous performance by Pat Hicks, who embodies Apple as a young man who can't quite understand everything in the world around him but who still manages to embrace it fully. Hicks's performance carries with it a dignity and sensitivity that is so often absent from these types of performances, which all too often dissolve into caricature and stereotypes.
Hicks actually co-wrote the script with Kneller, a fact that may account for at least part of why the dialogue feels so relaxed and natural as it flows from Apple's mouth. In a mere 15 minutes, Hicks and Kneller have crafted compelling and involving characters with whom you'd simply love to spend more time than this film affords. Apple is practically begging to be a full-length feature, an emotionally resonant story involving a young man who is far more special than is implied by his special needs.
Bill Doherty, Jr. shines as Kenny, Apple's friend and confidante, while Brian O'Hara exudes compassion as a caseworker whose monthly visits ensure that Apple and, most likely, his monthly check remain in his mother's home.
Cira Felina Bolla's camera work is top notch, while Don Spangler's original music companions the film quite nicely.
(The Independent Critic.2011)
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