Apprentice (dir. Boo Junfeng, 2016) – A young officer in search of his past develops a tense relationship with the chief executioner at the state’s maximum security prison.
An emotive look into capital punishment, Apprentice is a rare outstanding achievement in Singapore’s independent cinema.
“But what if he didn’t do it?”
The courts found him guilty, the hangman says, as though he has rehearsed the words too many times in his mind. He cannot afford to think otherwise. Not at this second. So he pulls the lever, just as he always has. Down goes the prisoner through the open doors, his spine whispering a harrowing crack.
Chief executioner Rahim (Wan Hanafi Su) has been doing this for decades. He sees his successor in quiet correctional officer Aiman (Firdaus Rahman), who has taken a morbid interest in the gallows. But there is much more to ‘why’ than Aiman is letting on. His haunted past is revealed when he is asked to become the hangman’s assistant.