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Dismissed--My take on the movie with spoilers!

Even if all of us were not straight A students, there was always that one subject that we excelled in. A subject that we could grasp the knowledge of easily and do well on the tests.
Now imagine getting all A's in the tests, being praised for answering in class but get a B in the midterms. Would that drive us forward to do better or simply drive us crazy?
Dismissed does this very clever trick of starting the movie from the teacher's point of view. We see how much Mr. Butler loves teaching and how popular he is in class and the chess club he supervises. Everyone loves him. At home, he is a caring father and a loving husband.
All this is shown to us so that we don't bring forth our suppressed empathy for Lucas who doesn't score well in his midterms.
At some point, maybe we did feel like we deserved a better grade and that the teacher had it out for us. It is only later that common sense prevails and we realize they were only doing their job and sometimes it is okay to swallow your ego and learn from our mistakes rather than condemn the teacher.
When  Lucas enters, we see how witty he is, how much he craves perfection. His clothes are without a crease, his hair is perfectly combed. For assignments, he doesn't submit a paper but a book-a dissertation.
As if that isn't enough, he is skilled at chess as well. We learn how strategically inclined he is later on. You do see he has a knack for planning ahead. He is the epitome of an ideal student.
Mr. Butler is a fair teacher. He is enthusiastic to have Lucas as a student who is that passionate about his studies. I suppose we never think how much a teacher appreciates a student who is showing a palpable and eager interest in their studies. However much he loves his job, he is also looking to advance his career and applies to a college. What makes him a good teacher? He can never come up with the right answer.
Lucas in the meantime is vying to be a top student and can't handle being second even in chess. He hates it when students talk in class and disturb his learning process.
When he threatens his classmate to stay quiet, that is the first shade of darkness we see in him. But that is barely the surface of what he's really made out of.
Soon he does away with a senior member of the chess club, thus putting him in the first seat.
Mr. Butler suspects something is up but until he gives Lucas a B, he is hardly aware of who he is really dealing with.
Lucas cannot handle a B grade and confronts his teacher, indirectly even threatening him. But Mr. Butler simply states that all grades are final.
That is when Lucas begins to lose it and we see what a psychopath he is. His first move is to mislead his only friend Becca into believing Mr. Butler is getting a divorce and has a thing for her. The poor girl is harboring a crush on him as well and is waylaid to the point that she seduces him.
But Mr. Butler stands his ground. He is a loyal husband after all. At this point he knows Lucas is going after him and even when he is warned by a former teacher in Lucas' previous school, he gives him an F.
Lucas' father is a drunk criminal lawyer who knows what his son is capable of but is too afraid to admit. When Lucas breaks down upon receiving a failing grade, he knows what is going to happen next.
After Becca is unsuccessful in seducing her teacher, Lucas makes her write a letter and throws her off the roof.
His carefully laid plans go well initially as Mr. Butler is fired and his wife throws him out of the house.
Knowing that he is being framed and that Lucas must have been using the same tactic as he did with his other teachers, he bursts into his home and retrieves a videotape. Lucas' father at this point has given up and we can see he knows his son has gone too far and needs to be punished. He lets Mr. Butler go with the evidence that will prove his innocence.
Lucas is expelled and the case is reopened.
Mr. Butler is back home, happy to be in the arms of his wife.
Everything seems fine and we are breathing a sigh of relief when Lucas, hell-bent on revenge, breaks into his home, strangles his wife and runs off with his baby.
He leaves behind a chess piece and Mr. Butler knows he has been called to the school.
Lucas is in the lecture room, defending his thesis, clearly has lost his mind at this point.
Mr. Butler attacks him with the glass apple Lucas had gifted him and manages to save his baby just as the detective arrives.
Lucas is arrested and we hope he is sent to a mental asylum.

Dismissed is an edge of the seat thriller. The fast pace helps in keeping the plot on point. Of course, it was too easy for Mr. Butler to find the video and have Lucas' father aid him, but at the way things are headed and the psychological breakdown we see from Lucas, we are just glad for a happy ending.

The movie amplifies the desperation a student will go to just to get an A and only so that he can have a better life, a career that will not lead him to become a drunk loser like his father. That's how he sees his father and that is his drive to do well at school. And if anyone comes in the way of that... He's ready to kill.

It's an interesting thrilling movie that gives you the scares when you realize there might be people like Lucas who need help and therapy.

Scare scale: 3/5

Comments

  1. I rinjoyed your thoughts on this movie. I liked the movie. I knew he was having Becca write a suicide note and he was going to throw her over. I never got how his mom died though and is that what made him like he was or was he always like that and may have killed her or caused het to commit suicide like his dad

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