THE TUTOR (2023)
Release Date: 05/09/23 [VOD]
Genre: Mystery. Thriller.
"Follows a tutor who, after being assigned an unexpected task at a mansion, finds himself struggling with the obsessions of his student, who threatens to expose his darkest secrets."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Jordan Ross's The Tutor, starring Stranger Things' Noah Schnapp and TRON: Legacy's Garrett Hedlund, takes the student-teacher obsession to unrealistic extremes in the intense thriller set to release on VOD later this month.
Ethan (Hedlund) is a tutor who teaches rich kids. As he has a baby on the way with his long-term girlfriend, Annie (Victoria Justice), high-paying teaching jobs that help financially support his soon-to-be family are appealing. So, when his company calls to offer him a summer tutoring job that pays $2500 a day, he jumps at the chance.
But shortly after arriving at the swanky estate that he has been summoned to, Ethan meets Jackson (Schnapp), the billionaire's son whom he has been hired to teach. It's clear early on that something isn't quite right with the 17-year-old student, who is coy about disclosing his SAT score and is so intelligent that his need for tutoring is perplexing. As time passes, Jackson develops an unhealthy obsession with his newly recruited tutor, threatening Ethan's livelihood.
What's disappointing about The Tutor is that it starts with so much potential. It does a stellar job building mystery and suspense, only to come crashing down at the film's close.
Movies centering around obsession tend to have the same cookie-cutter approach to storytelling. However, while watching The Tutor, I had no idea what would happen next, and I applaud the film for its unpredictability and ability to build intrigue.
Undoubtedly, Noah Schnapp is a star performer and excels as Jackson. Seeing him in a completely different role is a breath of fresh air and showcases his bright future in the industry. Jackson is clever, cunning, and mysterious, with Schnapp flawlessly navigating each character trait.
Jackson and Ethan's contrasting personalities are well-balanced, and the tension-filled scenes Schnapp and Hedlund create elevate the film, though, throughout most of The Tutor, Ethan is a rather generic, uninteresting character.
Only during the third act does the audience witness a more complex and animated side to him, where Hedlund shines. But unfortunately, the scene-stealing moment is short-lived and rushed, leaving me unfulfilled and frustrated.
Endings that are hard to predict tend to fair well among viewers, but for me, The Tutor's shocking conclusion makes little sense and is not only unfitting with the rest of the story but also too drastic to have an impact.
Of all the directions The Tutor could have taken, some of which would have made the film a solid entry into the thriller genre, I can't help but wonder why an illogical ending was the one that was settled on.
And though it didn't work for me, it's so random that I can see why some may actually dig it.