The Apprentice 2024

The Apprentice review

The Apprentice

The Apprentice is a tragicomedy that is shrewd and darkly amusing with the title borrowed from a TV show; it dramatizes Donald Trump’s rise to power in the 1970s and 80s. Accordingly, some viewers may condemn it for being too brutal while others may criticize it for not going far enough. Nonetheless, by craftily showing their subject as a human being rather than a superhero or supervillain, the makers have made it so worthwhile. There are many mysteries surrounding this film’s events as shown by an opening disclaimer that most of them are fictionalised but its former president has indicated his intention to sue.

First seen as a young man in his twenties working at New York real estate firm owned by his father Fred (Martin Donovan) who is cold and condescending towards him, Donald (Sebastian Stan) walks around knocking on doors and collecting rent from his poor tenants but he dreams of opening up luxurious high-rise hotel next to central station. The company is however embroiled in legal wrangles over allegations of racial profiling potential renters underling one small problem though: “how can I be racist when I’ve got a black driver?” spluttered Fred.

A stiff drink later, Donald notices Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong), an extremely cruel lawyer whom he spots inside an exclusive club. While Cohn likes having meetings in his office while doing sit-ups half-naked, what catches Donald’s attention is how mean he can be towards people he considers as enemies, such derogatory words about them like callousness; there was always plenty left for others after all-attack first , don’t ever admit anything wrong occurred and never say I surrender just follow my three rules. The fact that he openly uses blackmail only makes him shine brighter for the younger man! Therefore Cohn could be the nurturing father figure that Donald has always missed out on.

Ali Abbasi, who also directed Border and Holy Spider, both Iranian–Danish films could explain why this film is less partisan than an American director’s would have been (although Gabriel Sherman, the screenwriter is a US political journalist). Shot like a grainy video tape of an 80s television programme, it’s dirty in the first half because this Donald is so different from the one that has been all over our screens for last ten years.

Stan has imitated Trump’s movements and facial expressions perfectly but wisely did not try to mimic or overdo them. Instead he plays him as neurotic and impressionable young boy who can’t hold a conversation with anyone and always stops next to parked cars to look at his thinning hair in their reflection. It’s an astute depiction of Trump that could make him sympathetic to viewers of any political stripe. Although you might disagree with Abbasi’s approach, you have to admit it is gutsy.

Although bizarre, Cohn is captivatingly strange in his no-eye-blinking, non-smiling role, and The Apprentice is a cynically teasing buddy movie so long as these two men remain together. Donald is not having any of it but he does what the man says without questioning. He shows him some phrases and behavior which would later define Trump’s characteristic attitude towards life. However none of this is overdone by Abbasi, there was something in there for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign with its badge that bore “Let’s Make America Great Again” slogan.

It is quite annoying when Cohn disappears from the film too soon after its commencement. In the second half, The Apprentice makes a transition towards a less original biopic, following Donald’s successes and failures in business and exploring his toxic relationship with Ivana (Maria Bakalova of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm). But it’s still grimly fascinating to see the build-up of Boogie Nights-style sleaze as he takes to amphetamines, plastic surgery and younger women.

Something inside him dies off again weirdly. Stan, Abbasi and Sherman make sure that he begins to talk more while listening less until he becomes incapable of genuine love anymore; drawing allusions from Citizen Kane , The Godfather among other films as well as Shakespearean play when Hal betrays his former mentor.

Once again many people will criticize The Apprentice for being too flattering or unflattering enough but it offers an insight into who Trump was at a moment in history using clever techniques. In conclusion, it does not offer anything new or delve deeper into character psychology. However that may be for the best already as producers may have gotten into some legal problems

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